As the NFL prepares for its 2020 season, the league knows it’s a matter of when, not if, a player test positive for COVID-19 during the regular season. Once that happens, any players that contract the coronavirus can expect to be sidelined for a long time.
The NFL has already seen multiple players test positive for the coronavirus. Denver Broncos star Kareem Jackson became the latest player to contract the virus. He joins teammate Von Miller, Los Angeles Rams center Brian Allen and multiple Dallas Cowboys and Houston Texans players.
Keep in mind, players haven’t even arrived for training camp yet. It’s why the NFL has created strict social distancing guidelines for the locker room and team facilities, but those protocols have been met with push back from coaches. Even if the safety measures are implemented, it won’t keep every player safe.
The NFL will test players for COVID-19 multiple times per week. When a player tests positive for the virus, the league’s chief medical officer made it clear that they will be kept off the field for a long time.
"You're looking at someone missing at least a couple of weeks time if you have a positive time. … At a minimum it will be a couple of weeks time." – NFL chief medical officers Dr. Allen Sills discusses positive tests on @dpshow— Andrew Perloff (@andrewperloff) June 18, 2020
It will cause problems during the season. Teams are limited to 53-man rosters and only have so much depth at each position. Even if practice squads are increased, clubs will still run into trouble if a key starter gets the coronavirus.
Preparing for a season takes months of work and there are daunting challenges on the road to even becoming a playoff team. As teams prepare for the upcoming season, it’s clear that there will be even more hurdles to overcome in 2020.