Safety of Opening Camp report

Rookie camps open for 2 NFL teams Saturday, but no agreement on return

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The NFL teams, the Texans and the Chiefs have been granted permission to open rookie camp on Saturday as planned, even though there has yet to be an agreement on a return.

The NFL and the NFLPA have had meetings, but no solutions or plans yet as to testing policies, what to do when someone tests positive, or even revenue. NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith, on the call with the Union, said Friday that team doctors said that “with a couple of reservations” opening camp is safe.

Smith also said, “Wearing a mask will probably be the most significant component of whether sports return in this country. That’s not a political statement; that’s a common sense and scientific statement.”

Although no agreement was reached, a statement was released after Friday’s call:

[Read also, Will the NFL plain 2020? What we know]

JJ Watt also released a statement via Twitter where he lined out what the players do, and do not know. Rams OT Andrew Whitworth told reporters his family had caught the virus from a friend at a lunch. His father had to be hospitalized.

What we know is this, there is no “bubble”. Teams are holding camps at their own facilities, sending players home at the end of each day.

Usually, they would be sequestered in a dorm setting, on a college campus, or facility created just for training camps. That is not the case this year because of the virus.

We also know that 72 players, representing 2.5% of the workforce have tested positive already. Practices have yet to begin.

We know Oakley and the NFL worked together to design a mouth shield, but use hasn’t been made mandatory as of yet. With players like Watt strongly objecting to the idea.

We know that several teams, like the Packers and Eagles will not have gans in attendance at home games. While many teams have decided to sell a limited amount of tickets. Bit we know there will be no packed stadiums this year.

That leads to the revenue situation. Salary cap implications, and loss of ticket sales and other stadium purchases will affect the bottom line. And teams and players have yet to agree on how.

There are mechanisms built into this year’s CBA that make it so there isn’t a big spike in the cap next year. So players don’t want to see any contract money lost due to other drops in revenue.

Owners are more apt to want to spread the loss across the next few years, which would mean there would be reductions in pay for players, meant to be made up at the same time.

But again, no agreement for a safe return. No testing schedule, procedure for positives, and no solid answer to what to do with rosters if multiple players cannot play.

Proposed special PUP list has surfaced. The idea of a shorter IR to reduce the need for added players they haven’t trained is also on the table.

Officially, camps open on the 28th. Different players have been sent dates to report and this new agreement sets consequences in motion for veterans who don’t report on time.

This is a mess. One needing a lot of work to clean up if we plan to have professional football this fall.

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