NFL to open training camps on schedule July 28


New York (AFP)

The NFL has told teams it expects pre-season training camps to open on schedule on July 28, league general counsel Jeff Pash told reporters on a conference call on Thursday.

Rookies and selected players will be allowed to report even sooner, despite the continuing uncertainties of the coronavirus pandemic.

After hitting a two-month plateau, the rate of new virus cases is soaring in parts of the United States, with the confirmed infection rate nearing levels last seen in April.

The league's first scheduled pre-season contest, The Hall of Fame Game between the Dallas Cowboys and Pittsburgh Steelers slated for August 6, was cancelled on Thursday.

Pash spoke after the league held a virtual meeting with owners on Thursday to discuss issues including training camps, planning amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the league's "Inspire Change" social justice programs and workplace diversity.

The NFL is gearing up for an on-schedule start to its 2020 season on September 10, with games to be played at teams' regular home grounds.

The Athletic has reported that the league won't establish capacity standards for venues, so that some teams will be able to play in near-full volume stadiums and others with near-empty stands.

The NFL's chief medical officer Allen Sills said Thursday that the league is organizing a "very ambitious testing program."

However, he said it will still be important to implement health protocols such as social distancing and use of face masks.