Rams All-Pro Aaron Donald: 'You Need Fans to Play a Game'

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Rams All-Pro defensive tackle Aaron Donald appears dejected about the prospect of playing NFL games without fans. 

"You need fans to play a game," Donald told reporters on Thursday. "I don't see how you could play a game without no fans. I feel like that takes out the excitement and the fun out of the game ...

"I feel like the fans is what pick you up. The fans is what makes the game exciting. The fans will give you that extra juice when you're tired and fatigued, when you make that big play and you hear 80,000 fans going crazy. That just pumps you up."

But the NFL, like other sports leagues, is weighing options on how to best proceed amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

Tuesday marked the first day that teams could re-open their facilities, if they were permitted to do so under governing state and local regulations. But no players are currently allowed to enter facilities, unless they were already undergoing rehab or therapy that began prior to team facilities being closed. 

A possible date of more comprehensive returns is still unclear.

NFL chief doctor Allen Sills also said on Tuesday on a conference call that it appears inevitable that a number of the sport's team personnel will be infected by the coronavirus.

"We fully well expect that we will have positive cases that arise," Sills said. "Because we think that this disease will remain endemic in society, it shouldn't be a surprise that new positive cases arise. Our challenge is to identify them as quickly as possible and prevent spread to any other participants."

The NFL released its 2020 schedule on May 7, publishing the 2020-21 campaign despite the health crisis' potential impact. The Rams are scheduled to open the 2020 season against the Cowboys in Week 1, which would mark Los Angeles' first home game in its new SoFi Stadium. 

With uncertainty looming over the possibility of playing games without fans, the MMQB's Albert Breer noted Monday that, "at least a couple teams that are facing the possibility of playing in empty stadiums in the fall would rather do that at home, than play their home games in someone else's city."

California governor Gavin Newsom said earlier this week that professional sports leagues could begin to move towards a possible return starting around the first week of June, but in events without spectators.