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Mahomes, Brees and More Tweet on NFL Not Following COVID-19 Safety Guidelines

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistJuly 19, 2020

Kansas City Chiefs' quarterback Patrick Mahomes rolls out against the San Francisco 49ers during the second half of the NFL Super Bowl 54 football game Sunday, Feb. 2, 2020, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Matt York)
Matt York/Associated Press

Top NFL stars are concerned about player safety amid the coronavirus pandemic with teams close to reporting to training camps.

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt were among the players who discussed the challenges:

Patrick Mahomes II @PatrickMahomes

Getting ready to report this week hoping the @NFL will come to agreement with the safe and right protocols so we can feel protected playing the sport we love #WeWantToPlay

Drew Brees @drewbrees

We need Football! We need sports! We need hope! The NFL’s unwillingness to follow the recommendations of their own medical experts will prevent that. If the NFL doesn’t do their part to keep players healthy there is no football in 2020. It’s that simple. Get it done @NFL

Russell Wilson @DangeRussWilson

I am concerned. My wife is pregnant. @NFL Training camp is about to start.. And there’s still No Clear Plan on Player Health & Family Safety. 🤷🏾 We want to play football but we also want to protect our loved ones. #WeWantToPlay

Adam Schefter @AdamSchefter

Sense a trend.... https://t.co/KJQqo7nKSI

JJ Watt @JJWatt

Once again in the interest of keeping everyone (players & fans) as informed as possible, here is an updated list of what we as players know and don’t know as the first group gets set to report to training camp tomorrow. #WeWantToPlay https://t.co/xQcjs33zgM

Derek Carr @derekcarrqb

I want to play ball this year! But we are going to need the @NFL to make sure they are listening to everyone and taking the steps for the players and their families to be safe! #WeWantToPlay

Rookies are expected to report to camp July 21, followed by quarterbacks. Injured players will report July 23 and all other players on July 28, per Tom Pelissero of NFL Network. The NFL and NFLPA are still in discussions about protocols to keep team personnel safe, but there has been no official agreement.

Unlike the NBA or NHL, which is using "bubble" environments to keep players safe, the NFL plans to go forward with usual travel and players returning to their own homes, potentially putting family members at risk.

Former player and NFLPA executive board member Lorenzo Alexander has called for daily testing.

"It's more than just the player. It's the coaches, it's the front office, the medical personnel, trainers, equipment staff," Alexander said on The Pat McAfee Show, per the Buffalo News. "We have to make sure we are tested daily and we are going home every day. We are not in a bubble. I have to go home and my wife might be working or my kids might be going to school."

Another major issue on the table is the potential for players to opt out of the season in the name of safety, a policy MLB adopted for the upcoming year.

According to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, the league is offering an opt-out for players by Aug. 1, but they must remain out all season long. They would receive a stipend, but it works as an advance for their 2021 salary. There is also a provision preventing holdouts in 2021. 

This all comes with COVID-19 cases on the rise in key states like Texas and Florida, per Johns Hopkins. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 138,000 have already died from the disease in the United States.

"We have one question that encapsulates it all: Does it make sense for the NFL to open up training camps in 'hot spot' cities right now?" a person familiar with the NFLPA's views said last week, per Mark Maske of the Washington Post.

These questions remain unanswered even with players set to report to camp this week.

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