Coronavirus: NFL offseason programs delayed, new rules for free agency
- The NFL has decided to delay the start of offseason programs due to coronavirus.
NFL offseason programs have been delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic, while new guidelines were introduced around free agency.
Teams with new head coaches were scheduled to begin their offseason programs on April 6, with the rest due to start two weeks later.
However, the NFL announced on Monday it had agreed with the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) to indefinitely delay the programs due to COVID-19.
Teams have been told to close their facilities to players, other than those undergoing medically supervised rehab, for the next two weeks.
"Based on the most recent guidance provided by leading health officials, and in consultation with the NFLPA and both our and the union's medical advisors, we believe this is the appropriate way to protect the health of our players, staff, and our communities," NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement.
"We will continue to make decisions based on the best advice from medical and public health experts and will be prepared to make further modifications as needed."
The NFL also announced teams cannot bring in prospective free agents "to a club facility or other location to meet with club personnel" when the start of the new league year officially begins on March 18.
Team personnel, including medical staff, cannot travel to meet a prospective free agent.
"The NFL and NFLPA are developing protocols that will provide clubs with opportunities to review a free agent player's medical records from his prior club[s] and to arrange for a free agent player to have a medical exam in the player's home city or at another nearby location," a statement said.
"These steps are consistent with those announced last Friday for club contact with draft-eligible college players."
The NFL announced earlier on Monday that the 2020 draft would go ahead on April 23-25, but with no fans present.Published 17 Mar 2020, 07:38 IST