NFL lockers at Super Bowl event
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

While NFL coaches and front office personnel are starting to return to team facilities, there is no timeline for players to return. When they are finally allowed back, though, things will be very different in the locker room and at the facility due to social distancing guidelines.

NFL memo outlines strict social distancing guidelines for players’ return

Before NFL players are allowed to step inside the locker room or inside their club’s workout facility, the teams will need to completely reshape everything for player safety.

In a memo sent to clubs on Monday, creating by the NFL and NFL Players’ Association, teams must create six feet of space between each locker when they reopen.

It could be particularly problematic for teams when training camp starts in July. During the summer, clubs often operate with 90-man rosters and space gets tight under normal circumstances. Due to the coronavirus and social distancing protocols, things will get even more difficult.

  • Teams must create physical distancing protocols to allow players and staff to maintain six feet of separation from each other when in the facility.
  • Clubs must promote physical distancing by rearranging or removing furniture, using distance markers to assure spacing, modifying the use of common areas, displaying signs that discourage handshakes or other contact and use markers to establish one-way traffic in common corridors.
  • Strength and conditioning workouts must be limited to small groups of no more than 15 schedule players, allowing for physical distancing. Athletic training staff will require individual, staggered player appointments instead of working with large groups at a set time.
  • Additionally, NFL teams must stagger meetings and workouts with players at the facility to follow physical distancing guidelines.
  • Whenever possible, meetings must be conducted virtually. If in-person meetings are necessary, clubs must attempt to hold them outdoors with participants separated and wearing masks. Any in-person meetings that don’t permit physical distancing won’t be allowed.

We likely won’t see players return to their team until the middle of July, so organizations will have some time to figure out how to make this work. However, it will likely cause significant headaches during training camp with expanded rosters and will limit when players can work out and be inside the building.

Given the social distancing protocols and the risks the NFL is facing, it’s no surprise some teams are in favor of delaying the season and the league is discussing eliminating some preseason games.

Matt Johnson
NFL, MLB & college football writer for Sportsnaut. Graduated from San Diego State University with BA in Journalism, 2019. Grew up in Sacramento, now based in Indianapolis. Seen on MSN. Previously: eDraft, The Connection, With the First Pick