Typically as the calendar moves into late July, Seahawks players descend upon the Virginia Mason Athletic Center in Renton to report for training camp and quickly take the practice field in front of thousands of rabid fans.
As the NFL tries to conduct a season during the COVID-19 pandemic, however, such a scene won't be realized when players officially report on Tuesday. Nothing will resemble a typical training camp over the next week, as there won't be any helmets or footballs required. Russell Wilson won't be throwing passes to DK Metcalf on the field. There won't be any music blaring from speakers.
Instead, starting on Tuesday's report day, players will undergo their first set of COVID-19 testing. Tests will be conducted three of the first four days and players will need to test negative on all three days to be allowed to enter the team facility for physicals and equipment fittings.
During those initial four days, all players will be required to attend mandatory virtual COVID-19 training sessions, administrative activities, and virtual football-related meetings as scheduled by the team.
Once players have had three negative tests, they will be assigned a Kinexon proximity tracking device and receive training on how to properly use it. Teams will be required to inform players about COVID-19 related alterations to facilities, including locker rooms, dining areas, and the differentiation between other restricted and unrestricted areas. Protocols and rule changes will also be reviewed with all players. Oh, and there will be more testing every day.
After that point, teams will transition into the first phase of a modified training camp plan without preseason games. Players will take part in strength and conditioning sessions for eight days as requested by the NFL Players Association to help limit injuries following no offseason on-field work. And, you guessed it, they will be tested.
From there, assuming everything remains on schedule, the Seahawks would be allowed to hold four practices with helmets and shells starting in mid-August. In the two weeks following, with daily testing continued, the team would be allowed to conduct padded practices before jumping right into the regular season in September.
So while football is technically back, there won't be any true football-related activities for the first six days minimum. Players will continue to be tested each day and legitimate on-field practices orchestrated by Pete Carroll and his staff remain at least two weeks away.