NFLPA Medical Director Thom Mayer 'Optimistic' 2020 Season Will Be Played

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMarch 31, 2020

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 08:  Detail view of three NFL footballs on the sideline before the game between the New York Jets and the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium on September 8, 2019 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Buffalo defeats New York 17-16.  (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)
Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

While acknowledging nothing is definite, NFL Players Association medical director Thom Mayer expressed his hope the 2020 NFL season will kick off as scheduled in the fall amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

During an appearance on The Adam Schefter Podcast (via ESPN), Mayer said the involved parties will have a better idea about the season in late May or early June.

The NFL indefinitely suspended the start of offseason team activities to limit the spread of the coronavirus, with Mayer telling Schefter they're "probably not going to happen":

"As you know, the clubs are closed for now and will remain closed for a while. But I'm very optimistic. You know, you look at somebody like Drew Brees and [wife] Brittany Brees gave five million dollars to New Orleans. And you may have heard Drew the other day say, 'Hang in there, hang tough.' And that's what we have to do. We have to hang in there and hang tough -- but we have to scenario plan for disasters in terms of the way we did it at 9/11."

He explained the NFLPA has been in contact with medical experts from notable universities, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the White House, the state department, and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Mayer went on to say that if the season happens, teams might have to play behind closed doors. In addition, nonessential personnel would potentially be prohibited from attending training camp as teams go through offseason preparations.

The pandemic's impact on the NFL has been more limited compared to the NBA, MLB, NHL and MLS, all of which either had to suspend or delay their seasons.

A flurry of moves happened across the league in free agency, and Commissioner Roger Goodell announced the 2020 draft is on track for April 23β€”albeit on a more limited scale.