Even though the COVID-19 pandemic has been a part of every sports-related story for the better part of this year, the NFL has continued to chug along with business as usual.
The NFL and NFLPA came to an agreement on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, which put the league’s new year, free agency, and draft on track as scheduled. Heck, the NFL even went as far as to put out a full regular-season schedule (preseason, too!) and even sell tickets for the year to come. But one thing that hadn’t been laid out is how minicamps and training camps would look. I mean, you can’t have virtual football forever … right?
With that in mind, Charles Robinson of Yahoo! Sports has the scoop:
Sources: #NFL head coaches could return to team facilities as early as next week, with full-squad minicamps potentially on the docket for mid-to-late June.
— Charles Robinson (@CharlesRobinson) May 26, 2020
Potential returns will depend on how things are going with the COVID-19 pandemic, but Robinson reports the NFL is holding out hope for teams to return to their facilities in mid-to-late June if state governments give the green light to resume operations. To go a step further, sources informed Robinson that mini-camps could begin as early as June 15 or as late as June 27. These are important dates to keep in mind moving forward (and they align with plans in the MLB and NBA).
A June 15 start-up for mini-camps would be as close as the league could get to resuming its offseason training on a regular-ish timeline. But Robinson notes that a June 27 mini-camp would be about two weeks later than normally scheduled last mini-camp, which is something that could ultimately push back the start of training camp.
Of course, none of this can start to happen without the NFL Players Association signing off to give it the full-go. And I’m not sure that group is there quite yet, at least based on tweets from NFLPA President J.C. Tretter:
Players: our union has not agreed to any reopening plan. Any reports about coming back to work are hypothetical. You will hear from the NFLPA when there are new developments.
— JC Tretter (@JCTretter) May 26, 2020
Tretter also added that Robinson’s reported date of June 27 being a date for mini-camps to start is incorrect, noting that June 26 was the correct date agreed upon by the league and players.
In any case, we have (1) potential dates to keep in mind for the NFL to get back to work and (2) the leader of the Players Association making it known that owners will need to turn to them before pushing through plans for the re-opening.