One of my biggest challenges right now is not threading COVID-19 nuggets into everything I write.
And that’s not because it isn’t important – what’s happening in the world right now is far more important than whatever we’re here to discuss. But rather because if I’ve already felt slogged down by the incessant news and updates, then I know I you have, too. With that said, the virus is going to impact football at some point down the line. It already has, to some extent. But more could be on the horizon.
No matter how much the NFL tries to keep up its business as usual front, the landscape is changing. For example, Ravens President Dick Cass expressed his belief that OTAs aren’t going to happen at all this summer:
“I hope I’m wrong,” Cass said via the team’s official web site. “I’m hoping we can get some players in (the facility) in June, but I’m sort of doubtful of that.”
It’s an honest assessment, though it’s not one NFL fans want to hear. Unfortunately, that buzz is only going to grow. NFL.com reporter Judy Battista hears from one NFL team executive that the probability of in-person offseason activities is unlikely, echoing Cass’ earlier statement.
And it sounds like players feel the same way. Well, at least one player sees a 2020 football year without an offseason program. Ex-Bears QB Chase Daniel told the Detroit Free Press he thinks it is “highly unlikely” there is any offseason program for teams this season. Daniel, who signed a multi-year deal with the Lions in the offseason, is an NFLPA rep — which gives his words more weight than most.
Elsewhere, Mike Freeman (Bleacher Report) is getting some skepticism from NFL insiders about the idea of things operating on a normal timeline — including 0ne coach, who believes a delay to start the season is in play. We have already seen the NBA, NHL, MLS, and NCAA (among others) shut things down or postpone them, so it can’t be ruled out for the NFL (even if regular-season games are five months away from being played). So with that in mind, we should be cognizant of the reality here.
The next big benchmark for team meetings on the NFL calendar is the opening of training camp in July. Those dates haven’t been hashed out just yet and don’t tend to be announced until spring. Given the circumstances, I reckon we’ll get a later announce date.