The NFL and NFLPA released a joint statement on Monday indicating changes in the offseason workout schedule because of the coronavirus.
Offseason training activities will not start on April 20, as was originally the case. The new dates are still to be determined.
“The parties will periodically meet and reassess the public health situation to determine an appropriate start date for any offseason team activities and other related considerations as this situation develops,” the statement reads.
In addition, there will be no free-agent visits as there have been in the past. Team personnel, including members of the club medical staff, may not travel to any location to meet with or conduct a medical examination of a free agent player.
“The NFL and NFLPA are developing protocols that will provide clubs with opportunities to review a free agent player’s medical records from his prior club(s) and to arrange for a free agent player to have a medical exam in the player’s home city or at another nearby location,” the statement reads. “These steps are consistent with those announced last Friday for club contact with draft-eligible college players.”
Team facilities are to be closed for the next two weeks, except to players doing supervised rehab work.
Ultimately, over the course of the next several weeks, NFLPA Medical Director Dr. Thom Mayer and NFL Chief Medical Officer Dr. Allen Sills, working with the Duke Infection Control Outreach Network (DICON), and other league and NFLPA advisors on infectious disease control -- will develop a standard set of protocols for clubs to implement “regarding facility cleaning and maintenance, equipment preparation, steps to identify player and staff who may be at elevated risk, and other preventive measures.”
“It is our responsibility to work together and protect the health, safety and well being of everyone in our business," NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith said. "Nonetheless, public safety is paramount during this national emergency and we will continue to work with the NFL, medical experts and seek guidance from federal agencies to adjust our business practices accordingly.”
“Based on the most recent guidance provided by leading health officials, and in consultation with the NFLPA and both our and the union’s medical advisors, we believe this is the appropriate way to protect the health of our players, staff, and our communities," said Commissioner Roger Goodell. "We will continue to make decisions based on the best advice from medical and public health experts and will be prepared to make further modifications as needed.”
Christopher Price can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at cpriceglobe.