Roger Goodell Sends Memo to NFL Teams Regarding COVID-19 Protocols

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistMay 7, 2020

NFL Wilson equipment bags are seen on the sideline prior to NFL football game between the New York Giants and the Washington redskins, Sunday, Dec. 22, 2019, in Landover, Md. (AP Photo/Mark Tenally)
Mark Tenally/Associated Press

With the NFL planning on releasing the schedule for its 2020 season on Thursday, Commissioner Roger Goodell sent a memo to teams outlining certain plans.   

Tom Pelissero of NFL Network shared the memo that urged teams not to publicly comment on plans and hypotheticals for the season because "it is impossible to project what the next few months will bring."

Tom Pelissero @TomPelissero

On the eve of the schedule release, Commissioner Roger Goodell also sent a memo to clubs discouraging public comment by club officials on hypotheticals surrounding the 2020 season, saying in part: “It is impossible to project what the next few months will bring.” https://t.co/Zoyz2RLU5l

The memo also said teams should come to the league office with questions instead of speculating publicly and pointed to the planning that has already happened in regards to holding a season amid concerns about COVID-19.

Part of that planning is building toward eventually reopening team facilities, and discussions have included medical experts, local leaders and public health officials. Goodell's memo included a set of protocols for reopening the facilities that includes multiple phases.

The first phase calls for a limited number of non-player personnel to enter the buildings. Teams are also asked to have the protocols in place by May 15 "in anticipation of being advised when club facilities will formally reopen."

Pelissero shared more details:

Tom Pelissero @TomPelissero

Guidelines for club employees during the phased reopening include this: "Wear a cloth face covering or medical style mask (not an N-95 mask, which should be reserved for healthcare workers) while at work and in public to help protect against the spread of the virus."

Tom Pelissero @TomPelissero

Protocol for the phased reopening of NFL club facilities includes daily screening of employees, visitors, contractors, etc., who must answer questions and have temperatures checked upon arrival with a no-touch thermometer. Normal temp should not exceed 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit.

Tom Pelissero @TomPelissero

The NFL and NFLPA remain in talks over players’ return to facilities, which will be sometime after the “virtual period” ends May 15. Tonight’s memo is just the first step. Expect further enhanced measures for players as protocol evolves into training camp, games in stadiums, etc.

This is the next step in what has been an unusual offseason for the NFL.

On top of team facilities being closed, all public events surrounding what turned into a virtual draft were canceled, travel restrictions limited the scouting that could be done in terms of prospects and free agents, and offseason activities have been done virtually.

There is still plenty of uncertainty regarding the season that starts in September and whether it will even take place or how the league will need to adjust.

Jay Glazer of The Athletic and Fox Sports reported "every indication points toward them trying to have a full season with fans being included" but cautioned the situation is "fluid" and could change at a moment's notice.

For now, the NFL is preparing to release its schedule and gradually reopen team facilities.