NFL keeps planning for offseason programs and training camp

Getty Images

With so much uncertainty regarding so many aspects of American life, the NFL continues to plan for a calendar that would be largely unaffected by the current COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our primary concern is to protect the health of the public, players, club and league employees while continuing the essential business of preparing for another exciting season,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told Mark Maske of the Washington Post. “We continue to plan for offseason programs and training camps. We will be prepared to make any changes necessary if circumstances warrant as led by medical experts and public authorities.”

Privately, opinions are more varied on whether offseason programs will happen at all. As one unnamed owner told Maske, “I would be shocked if we had any kind of offseason program at team facilities.” That same owner echoed Art Rooney II of the Steelers, who said last week that it’s “too soon to tell” whether training camp or the regular season will be affected.

“I’m optimistic we’ll be able to have a season that starts relatively on time,” said a person “with knowledge of the league’s inner workings,” per Maske.

For now, the launch of the offseason programs, which were to open for teams with new coaches on April 6, has been postponed indefinitely. PFT raised on Sunday night the question of whether players will receive workout bonuses if there are no offseason workouts. In theory, the NFL could construct offseason programs that involve players attending meetings via web connection and performing prescribed workouts at home.

Whenever teams get back together, the virus will continue to hover over all 32 franchises.

“It’s going to get worse before it gets better,” another unnamed source told Maske. “It also becomes a competitive issue. It’s up to [the league office] to make sure it’s even competitively. . . . What happens if you get into training camp and some team has a player test positive and has to shut down?”

There are many “what happens if?” questions that will apply to the coming months for the NFL. It becomes critical for a league that is far more accustomed to being reactive than proactive to anticipate all of the “what happens if?” questions in advance, and to resolve them effectively and fairly for all teams.

3 responses to “NFL keeps planning for offseason programs and training camp

  1. I keep saying: If this were the middle of the NFL season the league would just go on with business as usual. They think just like the president on this issue: Money matters more than people’s lives.

  2. I don’t think there will be any pre-season training or games.

    Will there be a reduced season? Any season?
    I hope there is at least a 2021 season.

  3. The plan is to have no offseason programs. That is near certain to be the case. There were no offseason programs in 2011 because of the lockout and it is not the end of the world. There is no reason to panic at this time that the season will also be cancelled.

    I would not rule out training camps starting as planned on July 25th. The “social distancing” restrictions will not always be as intense as they are at this time when the virus is peaking and there are no treatments available for the virus.

    I wouldn’t make plans to attend training camp at this time as there may not be open practices like there usually are. The pandemic will not be completely non-existant by July 25th, but I do believe there is a fairly good chance that training camps will start as scheduled on July 25th.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.