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NFL, NFLPA announce updated voluntary offseason program in response to COVID-19 disruption

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For fairness, look forward to a lot of “virtual” practice.

The NFL and the NFLPA have agreed to an updated program of offseason workouts and minicamps, in the wake of the novel coronavirus pandemic. In a memo shared with team executives and head coaches, the NFL Management Council explained a new program that deviates from the original structure established in the Collective Bargaining Agreement. NFL Network Tom Pelissero was the first to report the news, and detailed some of the key takeaways in a Twitter thread.

With the league planning to remain in compliance with federal, state, and local rules, team facilities will remain closed until they can be safely re-opened. For competitive balance, no club facility is allowed to open until all 32 facilities are allowed to open. In other words, if Florida is still in a state of emergency, the California teams will not be able to enter their headquarters for workouts, no matter how safe their state is.

Each team will be allowed three consecutive weeks of “virtual period” work, which includes classroom instruction, virtual workouts, and non-football education over voice and video chat software. New coaches also receive a voluntary veteran minicamp (also virtual). This period must end by May 15th.

If, during the course of the offseason workout program, club facilities don’t reopen, clubs can also conduct a mandatory virtual veteran minicamp with up to two hours of classroom time and two hours of workout time.

In addition, the agreement provides for teams to send workout equipment and monitoring devices (weights, FitBit sensors, etc) to players, as long as the cost for each individual player doesn’t exceed $1,500.

All offseason programs under this policy will end by June 26, according to the updated policy. Depending on the continuation of the pandemic response, teams may re-evaluate the risk of in-person workouts against the league’s ability to safely field a competitive product. Expect training camps and live games to be under negotiation in the future, until the coronavirus situation has stabilized in the US. As of April 12th, the United States had confirmed nearly 600,000 cases of COVID-19 infection, with 23,000 deaths.