The NFL recently sent out a memo to all of its 32 teams outlining guidelines needed in order for facilities to open up to all employees. The guidelines are strict amid the ongoing worldwide pandemic.
What are the NFL’s COVID-19 guidelines?
Social distancing in the weight room, locker room and cafeteria. Mask wearing all over team facilities. Those are just two of the policies meant to help the NFL avoid a delay to the start of its regular season on Sept. 10.
Reactions to the NFL’s guidelines
Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh is not too fond of the guidelines in that he doesn’t believe they can be adhered to on a consistent basis.
“I’ve seen all the memos on that, and to be quite honest with you, it’s impossible what they’re asking us to do. Humanly impossible,” Harbaugh told 105.7 The Fan (h/t ESPN). “So, we’re going to do everything we can do. We’re going to space, we’re going to have masks. But, you know, it’s a communication sport. We have to able to communicate with each other in person. We have to practice.”
These guidelines are extremely important, especially now that the virus is spreading at a higher clip than last month in nearly two dozen of the 50 states. Should a mass outbreak of COVID-19 impact the NFL, there’s no legitimate reason to believe the 2020 season will start on time.
In terms of training camp and the start to the season, Harbaugh is even more skeptical.
“I’m pretty sure the huddle is not going to be 6-feet spaced,” Harbaugh said. “Are guys going to shower one at a time all day? Are guys going to lift weights one at a time all day? These are things the league and the (players’ association) needs to get a handle on and needs to get agreed with some common sense so we can operate in a 13-hour day in training camp that they’re giving us and get our work done. That’s the one thing, you can tell by my voice, I’m a little frustrated with what I’m hearing there. And I think they need to get that pinned down a little better.”
NFL training camps are expected to start late July
This timeline could be moved up a couple weeks if the NFL decides to shorten its preseason to two games for each team outside of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Dallas Cowboys. Those two longtime rivals are scheduled to meet in the Hall of Fame Game on Aug. 6. That’s less than two months away.
Previous suggestions were that fans would be in attendance for games this season. That now seems highly unlikely. A lot of this will depend on what happens over the next two months as it relates to the virus and how the NFL handles the changing circumstances.