The NFL issued a memo on Monday morning that outlined required steps for players to return to team facilities. Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer tweeted out the note in full on his official account:
And here we have the NFL’s agreed upon protocols for players to return to team facilities. pic.twitter.com/1H9mWJepn4— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) June 8, 2020
As been noted by both Breer and NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, here are the key details:
- Locker rooms must be reconfigured so that player and personnel are six feet apart
- Team meetings must be conducted virtually when at all possible
- Equipment such as shoulder pads and helmets must be disinfected after each game
- Masks will be required — except when interfering with “athletic activities”
- Teams will have to classify staff in three tiers to limit unnecessary contact between individuals
Having been in the Kansas City Chiefs’ locker room at both their facility and at Arrowhead Stadium (separate entities at the Truman Sports Complex), ensuring that lockers are six feet apart will require creativity — and perhaps even some facelifting. The team may have to utilize both locker room locations (or an additional makeshift locker room) to accommodate all 90 players currently on the roster.
Recommending the team continues virtual meetings, even after a return to the facility, means the league is taking every precaution when it comes to players limiting contact with others. If this requirement spills into training camp and the regular season, it would be hard to believe media availability would return to normalcy before midway through the year — or perhaps even the start of next season. With this memo, I foresee the Zoom call availability carrying into at least some of training camp, at the very least.
The other “key details” are somewhat expected, though the tier breakdown is interesting. Based upon the memo Breer released, players and coaches would be Tier 1 — while general managers will be Tier 2. In theory, that would mean Brett Veach might have to “reasonably maintain physical distance” from Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes. That reality is difficult to fathom.