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NFL medical official says team offseason programs will be ‘delayed indefinitely’

A letter from the NFL’s chief medical officer says that the coronavirus outbreak will delay a critical portion of every team’s offseason routine.

Los Angeles Rams v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

On Saturday, ProFootballTalk’s Mike Florio published a letter sent by NFL chief medical officer Allen Sills to the NFL Players Association (NFLPA). Florio reported the NFLPA had then shared the letter with players and agents.

Sills’ letter outlined steps the NFL and the union are undertaking to protect players and team personnel during the coronavirus pandemic.

Some of the letter covered things we already knew. For example, it reiterated that public events surrounding the NFL Draft in Las Vegas April 23-25 have been cancelled, but that the draft itself is still planned to take place as scheduled in a non-public setting — and will be televised as usual.

But the letter also said team offseason programs — specifically OTAs, which were set to begin for the Kansas City Chiefs on April 20 — will be delayed indefinitely.

Off-season programs that were scheduled to begin on April 6 for clubs with new head coaches and April 20 for all other clubs are now delayed indefinitely to protect all personnel and communities. We are working closely with [NFLPA medical director Dr. Thom Mayer] and other medical and public health experts to develop a standard set of protocols for clubs to implement regarding facility cleaning and maintenance, equipment preparation, steps to identify player and staff who may be at elevated risk, and other preventive measures. The NFL and NFLPA medical teams are meeting periodically to review the status of public health conditions to determine an appropriate start date for any offseason team activities as this situation develops.

Sills said that NFL and NFLPA medical personnel continue to be in contact with officials from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (commonly referred to as the CDC) and experts from Duke University’s Infection Control Outreach Network.

We will continue to closely monitor developments, consult with leading experts, and be prepared to make any changes necessary as circumstances warrant.

How this will change the rest of the league’s 2020 schedule is unknown. We will keep you updated with new developments.

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