The NFL is finally here as teams start training camp on July 21st. For most players, however, with more COVID-19 cases rising, players seem to be skeptical about the return.
Rookies are expected to come ready for their July 21st start date. Quarterbacks and injured players come in on July 23rd, and everyone else starts July 28th.
As cases rise across America for COVID-19, many players have spoken out about not returning to training camp.
The NFL has released a protocol for COVID19 testing. These tests will happen everyday before players step onto the field. Testing will also happen everyday for two weeks; however, if there is less than 5% of the players tested, then testing will happen every other day according to Tom Pelissero. What will happen if a player does test positive? According to Judy Battista, “If a player tests positive but has no symptoms, he can return to the facility 10 days after the initial positive test or if he receives two consecutive negative tests within five days of the initial positive test.” She later wrote that, “Players who have close contact with someone who has symptoms will be tested and isolated as soon as possible. If the test is negative, and the player continues to have no symptoms, he may return to the facility but will have increased symptom monitoring and more frequent testing.”
It is important to keep this in mind as the Camp continues and as the season prolongs.
Notably, Dallas Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence has not been keen on reporting to camp. His wife is expecting a baby in October. Lawrence said, “But I also have to make sure I’m taking care of my family. Family is No. 1. After the game of football is done, that’s the only thing I have to depend on, so I’ve got to take care of them.”
Although, the NFL and NFLPA have a proper plan in action; expect a lot of players to not go to training camp this week due to concerns over the pandemic. For a lot of these players, they have families and loved ones who they want to take care of first, along with their own health as well. The NFL needs to protect their players and teams before the season officially starts in September.
One thing to keep in mind is, the final day for players to opt out of the season is August 1st.