NFL fans are gearing up to return to training camps this year after the NFL and the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) agreed to a new set of COVID protocols this week for the upcoming season.
According to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, teams will be permitted to host fans at training camp for the first time since 2019.
However, as shown in Pelissero's tweet, there will be some restrictions in place to ensure player safety.
Fans will have to stay at least 20 feet away from all Tier 1 staff, which includes the players. This means that fans will not be able to directly interact with their favorite NFL stars to get autographs or pictures at training camps.
The information from the NFL did not specify if fans who wish to attend training camp need to be vaccinated or show proof of their vaccination status.
Training camp schedules yet to be announced
Some NFL teams have released their training camp schedules for 2021, however, several franchises are still working on their training camp schedules.
The Green Bay Packers and New England Patriots are yet to release their training camp locations and activities. "America's Team," the Dallas Cowboys, has released a full schedule of the team's training camp activities for fans.
Now that the NFL has released new COVID protocols, the doors will be open for fans to return to training camps this year.
NFL training camps set to start at the same time
For the first time in league history, NFL teams will have a unified start to training camp. Of the 32 NFL teams, 29 will head into training camp on July 27.
The Dallas Cowboys and Pittsburgh Steelers can report to training camp as early as July 21, owing to their participation in the Hall of Fame game. Super Bowl champions Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been allowed to report on July 24, since they kick off the NFL season on September 9.
Added motivation for NFL players to get vaccinated
The Washington Post recently reported that over half the players in the league have been vaccinated so far.
The updated NFL COVID protocols allow fully vaccinated players and personnel to eat in team cafeterias, use saunas and steam rooms, and interact with vaccinated family members and friends during travel.
Players and personnel who are not vaccinated remain subject to strict protocols.
NFL insiders believe that once non-vaccinated players see the freedom their vaccinated teammates have been afforded, they are bound to change their stance on the vaccine.