NFL bans in-person visits with prospects ahead of draft

New York (AFP) –


NFL clubs have been instructed to avoid all in-person contact with prospects ahead of next month's NFL draft, according to a posting on the league's web site.

In a memo to all 32 teams, the league instructed clubs to stop visits to team facilities by prospects as of Friday in the latest safety move in the wake of the global coronavirus outbreak.

"We have been closely monitoring developments relating to the coronavirus (COVID-19) and taking action based on the guidance of our Chief Medical Officer Dr. Allen Sills and the medical experts at the World Health Organization and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention," the memo said.

"We have decided to prohibit all in-person pre-draft visits involving draft-eligible players...until further notice."

The NFL draft is scheduled for April 23-25 at Las Vegas. The Cincinnati Bengals are set to make the first selection after finishing with the league's worst record, followed by Washington, Detroit, the New York Giants and Miami.

The NFL Network reported that Miami had visits at its facility on Friday by Ohio State running back J.K. Dobbins and Utah State quarterback Jordan Love.

Many NFL clubs had already suspended air travel for coaches and scouts to attend workouts by draft prospects at universities across the United States as a health precaution.

The NFL memo banned travel by club personnel, including scouts hired by the team, to visit draft prospects as well as facility visits.

NFL teams can connect with prospects by telephone and video conference through April 22, although the memo limits such contacts to no more than three per week and none for longer than one hour.