Although the NFL canceled this year’s Hall of Fame Game, Roger Goodell confirmed Thursday there have been no changes to the standard reporting date. Most teams remain on track to report to training camp July 28, per Mike Garafolo of NFL.com (on Twitter).
However, the commissioner said the preseason’s length is one of the items the league and the NFLPA are discussing. So is a possible reserve list designed specifically for the coronavirus, according to NFL general counsel Jeff Pash (via SI.com’s Albert Breer, on Twitter).
With the NFL planning to go ahead with its season amid the pandemic, players will continue to test positive — as many have this month. It appears the league is open to helping teams organize their rosters to deal with these scenarios. The prospect of expanding practice squads has already surfaced. Major League Baseball is expected to introduce a COVID list to help teams manage their rosters as well, so it is unsurprising the NFL is considering following suit.
Additionally, NFL executive VP Peter O’Reilly confirmed a report from earlier this week indicating the league will allow teams to follow local guidelines regarding attendance. The NFL will work with the CDC, with O’Reilly (via Mark Maske of the Washington Post, on Twitter) noting teams will set their own guidelines as to the number of fans that can attend games. While this will open the door to fans being allowed to attend games, it also creates uncertainty across the league and will muddle ongoing talks about managing the 2021 salary cap.
After the cancellation of the Cowboys-Steelers Canton contest, the NFL preseason slate consists of four games per team. But with no pre-training camp re-acclimation period scheduled, the solution for bringing players up to speed may well mean canceling more games and using that space to do so.