NFL's next phase of reopening: League expects coaching staffs to return to facilities soon
Goodell says they are working to get players in facilities soon as well
Many restaurants and places of work in certain areas around the country have begun to reopen despite the COVID-19 pandemic, and the NFL is hoping they can soon as well. On Thursday, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell released a memo to team presidents, general managers and head coaches about the next phase of reopening club facilities, according to CBS Sports NFL insider Jonathan Jones.
The main takeaway from his message was that clubs next week are expected to be allowed to include members of their coaching staffs among the employees permitted to resume work in facilities. Employees allowed to return as of Monday, June 1 are ticket offices, retail shops and other customer-facing facilities as long as the operation of such facility fully complies with state and local regulation. Goodell also says that the league is in touch with states and cities that have not announced reopening plans yet.
The league is also continuing to work with the NFLPA on developing protocols that will allow at least some players to return to facilities on a limited basis prior to the conclusion of the offseason program. Clubs also can continue to provide treatment and rehabilitation to players who were receiving treatment as of March 25.
Earlier this week, NFL Players Association president J.C. Tretter pumped the brakes on a hypothetical return to work for NFL coaches and players, saying there's still no official league reopening plan outside of the NFL's recent decision to permit up to 75 front-office personnel back at team facilities. Even if there were specific guidance for coaches and players, however, it appears some teams wouldn't fully reopen anyway. According to ESPN's Jeremy Fowler, a number of clubs have already planned to keep their offseason program virtual until training camp in July.
"Coaches from multiple NFL teams tell me their staffs aren't returning to team facilities until training camp, barring an unforeseen development," Fowler tweeted Tuesday. "Others are holding out hope for in-person work in June, but some teams are making the decision now that everything stays virtual."
It will be interesting to see which teams will take the NFL up on the chance to work again in-person, but this does appear to be a step in the right direction when it comes to the prospect of having football played in some capacity this season.