The NFL is planning to have training camps open on time in July as the league continues to navigate its way through the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The league informed each of its 32 teams on Thursday that they should “expect” training camps to begin as scheduled on July 28, according to NFL.com. In addition, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said that the league is still preparing for games to be played in stadiums and focusing on “engaging” fans in stadiums.
If all goes as planned, that means rookies and quarterbacks will report to training camp on July 24 for the Cleveland Browns, with veterans to follow a few days later.
Just how the Browns will proceed through training camp remains an unknown. The NFL has created a 13-page document that spells out the methods and protocols that teams must follow to maintain proper social distancing and minimize the spread of the virus at their training camp facilities.
But there is still more work to be done, as Dr. Allen Sills, the league’s chief medical officer, told ESPN on Thursday:
“Again, this is all about risk reduction and trying to mitigate risk. We know that we can’t eliminate risk. We will work very much hand-in-hand with the players association. This is where everyone in that team environment is going to share the same risks, but they’ll also share the same responsibilities with each other, which means that everyone is going to be dependent on every other member of that team environment, for doing the very best that they can to implement these measures and keep themselves and their household members as safe as possible throughout the course of the season.”
As head coach Kevin Stefanski prepares for his first training camp as a head coach, he said the coaching staff and players will adjust if needed, according to clevelandbrowns.com:
“All offseason long, we’ve had a plan, and we’re ready to pivot. We have a plan for the players to get back up here. I’ve encouraged our players to stay safe, and that’s from the moment we started talking to these guys back in April. I’ve told them that the No. 1 priority is their safety and their family, and we want to make sure we’re here for them and providing every resource for them.
“Whatever the rules are, I am ready to abide by them and adhere to them. We have a plan. If that plan won’t do, another one must. We will be ready.”
The Browns are currently scheduled to open training camp for all players on July 28 at team headquarters in Berea.