On Monday, Roger Goodell sent out a memo to all 32 teams to start laying the ground work to get players back into the team facilities as soon as possible. Per NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero, Goodell covered such topics as cleaning guidelines, physical distancing, food service, hygiene, and proper handling of protective equipment.
The NFL issued protocols to clubs this morning laying out plans for players’ return to club facilities, including physical distancing, facility cleaning and disinfecting, equipment cleaning etc. pic.twitter.com/mNzpnqfb0h— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) June 8, 2020
“As you know, over the past two months, we have worked closely with the NFLPA and outside medical experts to develop protocols that will facilitate a safe return to practice and play for NFL players and football staffs,” Goodell said to begin the memo. “These protocols are based on work done by a series of joint NFL-NFLPA task forces, which have brought together our own medical advisors, led by Dr. Sills, representatives of almost every member club, outside medical experts, including from the CDC, Duke University Infection Control Network (DICON) and other major universities, and NFLPA medical team.”
Per Kevin Patra, a writer for Around the NFL, all players and staff members will have to wear a mask at all times in the facility unless that mask interferes with athletic activities such as team workouts and practices.
Each team reportedly must break personnel into three tiers for “access to certain areas of the facility.” Tier one will consist of players, coaches, trainers, physicians, strength and conditioning staff, and head equipment managers. Tier two will be non-playing personnel who must be in close contact with players and coaches. These include general managers, PR staff members, and operations staff. The third tier will include essential staff members of the facility, stadium, and event staff.
The guidelines also require all players and staff to maintain the six feet of distance between each other at all times while within the facilities. This means that most, if not all, teams will have to use larger meetings areas as regular team meeting rooms will not be able to host 90-100+ people at one time. The guidelines do suggest hosting in-person meetings outside and utilizing virtual meetings whenever possible.
In a joint NFL-NFLPA memo to clubs, teams will, among other things, be required to have 6 feet of space between lockers upon re-opening pic.twitter.com/z7eVvhs9fQ— Jonathan Jones (@jjones9) June 8, 2020
Although a lot of this sounds like good news, Pelissero was quick to inform fans not to get too excited just yet.
“No dates set yet and no minicamps expected, but the NFL and NFLPA are discussing the possibility of certain players — such as rookies, and veterans who changed teams and need physicals — returning to club facilities on a limited basis before June 26, per sources.”
Nonetheless, any news is good news right now. Hopefully things keep snowballing as they have been and we’ll be covering live practices sooner rather than later.