The clock is ticking on finalizing details for the upcoming football season. The NFL and NFLPA are in crunchtime discussions to make sure that training camps have the proper COVID-19 safety protocols in place. These talks were ramped up and escalated due to the sudden spike in social media posts from dozens of players admitting that they haven’t seen nearly enough protocols in place in their respective facilities.
J.J. Watt and Russell Wilson, to name a few prominent players with NFLPA voices, are just two of many players that are not happy with the league’s lack of protocol in keeping its players safe. Safety and opt-out procedures are currently at the center of discussions, but it seems pretty obvious that these types of situations should’ve been taken care of weeks ago and not when rookies and QBs were already supposed to attend camp. Another big topic of discussion is narrowing down the preseason from its previously decided two games to one.
Initially, the NFLPA unanimously shut down the proposal for two games and countered with a zero-game preseason, but it appears the two sides may be coming to an agreement on another proposal. It is still undecided how many preseason games will take place this season, but it is clear that the players want to have as long of a camp period with safety protocols as possible.
The game that would be played would normally be the third week of August, which is what is more commonly known as the “dress rehearsal” of the preseason. With no agreement in place at this time, teams are beginning to enter training camp with no real preseason dates set in stone. The Houston Texans and Kansas City Chiefs are among a handful of teams that had rookies report to camp on Monday.
While there’s agreement among most of the NFLPA’s stance on the preseason, there are quite a few fringe/bubble players that are currently fighting for roster spots that do want the chance to prove themselves in a scrimmage type environment instead of just training camps. This makes sense from their point of view, as coaching staffs get a close look over several games/weeks whereas this year, there could be as little as one game to make said decision.
At the end of the day, only time will tell if the NFLPA and the league agree to one preseason game in August, but they’ll need to make decisions swiftly if we want to see anything soon.