Widespread COVID-19 testing needed for NFL to reopen facilities


While fans await the NFL’s eventual return, they’re urged to be realistic about what needs to take place in order for things to get back to normal.

Despite the fact the NFL‘s regular season isn’t kicking off for another five months, it’s not a sure thing that play will begin on time.

NFL.com’s Judy Batista reports Dr. Allen Sills, the league’s chief medical officer, is placing an emphasis on patience. League officials and teams alike have been hopeful that a full 16-game season will be played, but that may not be the case. With the end of the COVID-19 outbreak not yet in sight, it could prove to make things difficult.

The availability of testing for the virus has been spotty thus far. Some have been left without access to tests, quick results, or both. As long as that continues to be the case, allowing players and team staff to return to in-facility work would be risky.

“The longer we’re away from all football activity, we’ll have to adjust that timeline of preparation as well,” Sills said. Offseason programs were originally slated to begin as soon as this month but with everyone advised to stay at home as often as possible, at-home workouts have been commonplace.

That’s a far cry from a normal NFL training program. Once players are cleared to return to work, they’ll need some time to get back in the swing of things. That’s another thing the league must consider when plotting its schedule for the next few months.

Sills — and the rest of the league — are clearly erring on the side of caution here. While there’s still hope the season will start on time, this is a unique situation that requires a high level of thought put into every decision.

Next: Chiefs want to sign Chris Jones to long-term deal, not trade him

Only time will tell exactly when we’ll have NFL games back on our television screens.

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