NFLPA: Current Plan will Test Players Three Times a Week
Jason B. Hirschhorn
The NFL and NFLPA have yet to finalize exactly how teams will handle testing during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, but the two sides have discussed health and safety protocols in recent months in anticipation of the upcoming season. While the specifics can and likely will change between now and the opening of training camp, subjects such as frequency and type of test have received significant attention from both sides.
On Monday, NFLPA medical director Thom Mayer revealed to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero that, based on current planning, players can expect to receive COVID-19 tests three times a week with those testing positive isolating. Mayer further explained that a reliable saliva test has a 90% chance of becoming available before players have to report to club facilities late next month for training camp.
The league and players union still have several more issues to work out before finalizing their plans for the 2020 season. It remains unclear how many tests each team will require -- more than just the players require regular testing -- and whether all teams will have adequate access to those tests in time for the season. Clubs will also need an actionable plan for when multiple players contract the virus at the same time. On Monday, news surfaced that several players on the Dallas Cowboys and Houston Texans contracted the virus, including All-Pro running back Ezekiel Elliott. The NFL has acknowledged that it will study other sports leagues around the world to help determine how best to handle positive tests and avoid other potential pitfalls.
Based on the NFL's current plans for training camp, the Los Angeles Chargers will report on July 28.
-- Jason B. Hirschhorn is an award-winning sports journalist and Pro Football Writers of America member. Follow him on Twitter: @by_JBH