The NFL and the NFL Players Association are reportedly discussing an option for players to opt out of the 2020 season based on the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network.
Pelissero explained the situation Wednesday on NFL Now, via Kevin Patra of NFL.com:
"My understanding is both the union and the league intend to have an opt-out for players who have either a pre-existing condition, family (members) with pre-existing conditions, just general concerns over COVID-19, would not want to play this season. General managers were told on a call earlier this week there would be a specific date by which players would need to opt-out. That date is still to be determined."
Players are expected to report to camp on July 28, with the season set to begin on time in September.
The league has reportedly decided to shortened the preseason to just two games from the original four, but commissioner Roger Goodell told reporters last month the plan is to "get ready for games at our stadiums."
Sports league have utilized different strategies to account for the coronavirus, including the NBA playing all of its games without fans at the Walt Disney World complex in Orlando, Florida. The league allowed players to opt out of competing, an option taken by big names like Bradley Beal and Victor Oladipo.
MLB games will be held at their usual ballparks in a shortened 60-game, but several players have opted out of this season as well, including David Price, Ian Desmond and Felix Hernandez.
The NFL appears ready to also give players an option to skip the 2020 season if they are concerned about their health.
Buffalo Bills receiver Stefon Diggs was among those noting his concern about the upcoming year:
Per Pelissero, one of the biggest questions is whether a contract will toll for players who opt out, putting them one step closer to free agency.