The NFL and NFLPA are not in lockstep about the current level of safety as it pertains to opening up training camp this summer. The players are extremely worried about a lack of specific protocols in place for their health and safety. The NFL, meanwhile, is signaling that everything is just fine.
NFL team doctors: It’s safe to open training camp
On a conference call with reporters Friday, NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith conveyed that union officials had a call with team doctors Thursday night. During that call, the doctors gave the opinion, “with a couple reservations” that it is safe to open training camp.
The reservations were not expressely defined.
This comes as the Houston Texans and Kansas City Chiefs have already ordered their rookies to report for training camp on Monday. There is a huge concern from the players about reporting, especially in “hot spots” around the nation like Texas, Florida and California.
NFLPA shares preferred plan for ramping up training camp slowly
On the same call, NFLPA President J.C. Tretter shared a plan the players union has come up with that would both help keep players safe from COVID-19, and from other injuries.
Tretter also further defined concerns that players have right now — concerns that have no answer from the NFL at this time.
There is also a financial component to all of this. The NFLPA shared Friday that it has estimated the NFL salary cap could be lowered by as much as $70 million in 2021 due to lost revenue this season — truly an astonishing amount.
There are multiple ways the two sides could handle such a loss. The first is to take the hit in one year. The second is to spread out the losses over a longer period of time.
NFLPA does not want any preseason games
Another issue that the NFL and NFLPA has not resolved is the matter of preseason games. The league already announced that it has cut two of the typical four preseason games due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, the NFLPA has made it clear that it does not want any preseason games to be played this summer. On Friday, Tretter made it clear the players view the preseason as non-essential, and furthermore expressed that playing those games could lead to the season not being completed as planned.
Clearly, there is a lot that needs to be hammered out between the players and the owners.