The NFL already made some big changes to its summer schedule by eliminating two weeks of the preseasons and creating new COVID-19 guidelines. Now the NFL Players Association is pushing the league to make more changes to address player safety amid the pandemic.
Every summer, NFL teams report to training camp with 90-man rosters as countless players fight for an opportunity to prove they belong. Now with two preseason games wiped out, the NFL Players Association is pushing to reduce roster sizes.
According to ProFootballTalk’s Mike Florio, the NFLPA is requesting the league reduce roster sized from 90 to 80 for the summer session. Such a move would result in hundreds of players losing out on chances to make an NFL roster, but it could also help address player safety.
The proposal would actually make the NFL’s strict social distancing guidelines easier to follow. When players report for training camp, they must maintain six feet of separation when inside the facility and workouts will be broken into smaller groups.
The guidelines came under fire from NFL coaches for being impossible to follow at a time when teams have 90 players and dozens of staff. However, reducing the size of rosters would help address part of the problem.
In addition, the NFLPA has asked that clubs allow a maximum of 20 players inside their facility at one time in the first three weeks of training camp. While teams would need to rotate through groups for an entire day, it would allow everyone to follow social distancing protocols.
Both proposals from the players’ union are likely to receive more support from the NFL than the request to eliminate the entire preseason. Unfortunately, due to the difficulties created by the COVID-19 pandemic and the restrictions that will be in place, hundreds of young athletes won’t get their shot to demonstrate why they belong in the NFL.
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