NFLPA Sends Letter Instructing Agents to Inform Players of COVID-19 Risk Factors

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJune 29, 2020

PITTSBURGH, PA - NOVEMBER 13: Close up view of the National Football League shield logo on a goal post during a game between the Dallas Cowboys and Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field on November 13, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Cowboys defeated the Steelers 35-30.  (Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***
George Gojkovich/Getty Images

The NFL Players Associated distributed a memo to player agents instructing them to speak with their clients about the potential health effects of COVID-19, according to ESPN's Dan Graziano

Graziano shared a portion of the memo:

"The NFLPA is directing you to provide each of your clients with important risk factor information provided by the Centers for Disease Control that appears below, and by mid-July, you must engage each of your clients in a conversation about the vital importance of carefully reviewing this information with their personal physician. They should ask their personal doctors any and all questions they have regarding these risk factors in light of their personal medical history and their job as an NFL player. They should also discuss any risk factors with their team doctor."

This comes with just under one month until the start of training camp. Jeff Pash, the league's executive vice president and general counsel, told reporters last week that rookies are expected to report on July 28 and select players can arrive earlier.

Because of football season's traditional calendar, the ongoing pandemic hasn't affected the NFL as much as it has other leagues. The Kansas City Chiefs won Super Bowl LIV on Feb. 2, well before the situation reached the point of shutting down sports across the world.

The NFL has conducted almost all of its major business—the draft, free agency and offseason workouts—virtually to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

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That's obviously set to change once training camp opens.

The NCAA's Division I Council allowed limited workouts for football and basketball teams to resume June 1. Multiple programs have reported positive coronavirus tests since returning to practice. Clemson has registered 37 positive tests, which ESPN's Andrea Adelson noted is about one-third of the Tigers' football roster.

As organizations prepare for training camp, ESPN's Jeremy Fowler reported "around 10 NFL teams" indicated at least one player registered a positive test.

"Multiple veteran NFL players tell ESPN that, despite optimism for the season, the sheer volume of positive tests in college and professional football is alarming for game weeks, and how the virus can deplete a roster," Fowler wrote.

The NFL and NFLPA have worked together to form coronavirus-related protocols, which potentially includes maintaining a distance of six feet when inside team facilities.

Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh expressed doubt about whether teams can properly follow the protocols, calling them "humanly impossible."

ESPN's Adam Schefter reported the league instructed teams to create a tiered system that would dictate the level of access afforded to specific personnel. Those who can access restricted areas will be subject to daily testing.