COVID-19 continues to complicate 2020 NFL schedule
The NFL has a problem. The world has a problem. Nobody seems quite sure how the COVID-19 issue will be fixed.
The coronavirus has been ravaging the United States since March and infecting people — at least — since January. The Super Bowl went off without a hitch. However, there hasn’t been a normal football gathering since. Even the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis featuring ample conversation about COVID-19.
Of course, the NFL Draft was held virtually, as have been all OTAs. Minicamps will have the same feel. Meanwhile training camps are scheduled to start in a month without fans (but with all players physically in attendance), there’s growing concern how this will play out.
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Over the past week, a handful of players on a few teams have gotten together informally to work out. Now, the NFL and NFLPA are telling them to stop considering some clubs, including the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and San Francisco 49ers, have people coming down with the coronavirus.
On the Double Coverage podcast, New England Patriots defensive backs Jason and Devin McCourty talked about what the future will hold, per ESPN:
“I think everybody’s nervous, because the norm is that we just go to work — we put in a lot of work, we bond together, we lift, we’re in close quarters. It feels like that’s all being taken away from us, so I don’t know how to react. I don’t know what’s it’s going to be,” Devin McCourty said.
“I love how a lot of players’ attention has been on what’s going on outside of football, and I think we’ll continue to do that. But figuring out football, to me, seems to be the hardest thing right now. We hope, but I don’t know if we’ll figure it out, honestly.”
With some NFL employees returning to their Park Avenue offices on Monday, the league is clearly gearing up for a campaign to be played on time. The first regular-season game is scheduled for Sept. 10 between the Houston Texans and Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium, barely three months out.
Will the NFL get there even without fans in the stands? Will camps provide hope or become a health hazard for scores of players? So many questions are yet to be answered, and won’t be answered, until we’re in the moment.