Seahawks Rookies Could Report Early for Training Camp
Pushing forward towards an on-time start for training camp despite rising COVID-19 cases in numerous states across the country, the NFL announced last week teams would be expected to report on July 28.
While details are still being sorted out, there appears to be a chance rookies and "select players" may be allowed to report a few days early. Per Panthers coach Matt Rhule, the league had informed teams they could bring rookies in on July 21 and quarterbacks would be able to report two days later, though that hasn't been confirmed.
Per sources, some teams are considering bypassing the opportunity to bring rookies in early. Where the Seahawks stand on this issue remains unknown.
For most of their tenure as general manager and head coach respectively, John Schneider and Pete Carroll had rookies report at the same time as veterans. Last year, however, Schneider said they switched things up to give incoming players a "better shot of making them physically prepared for the workload they’re going to get.”
Without the benefit of OTAs or minicamps this spring, providing rookies such as linebacker Jordyn Brooks and defensive end Darrell Taylor with an additional couple days of practice time could be critical to helping prepare them for their first camp. Carroll and his staff would certainly be eager to have their first opportunity to work with their draft picks on the field with hopes they can contribute for the Seahawks right away.
Players coming back from injuries could also be allowed to return early, helping them get a head start towards eventually returning to the field.
But according to chief medical officer Allen Sills, the NFL is still sifting through potential protocols and procedures to use when players do finally report for camp. Such guidelines will have to be agreed to by the NFL players association, which has been asking agents to advise players about speaking with their doctor in regard to the risks of playing during a pandemic.
As noted by NFLPA president and Browns center JC Tretter, NFL players are a "higher risk" due to conditions such as high BMI, asthma, and sleep apnea. While the players certainly want to return to the field, they want to do it in the safest conditions possible.
“More so than any other sport, the game of football is the perfect storm for virus transmission,” Tretter said. “There are protections, both short and long term, that must be agreed upon before we can safely return to work. The NFLPA will be diligent as we demand that the NFL provide us the safest workplace possible.”
Keeping this in mind, though the NFL remains optimistic about starting training camps on time and establishing effective protocols for teams, there are still plenty of concerns left to address over the next few weeks. When it comes to player safety, nothing is set in stone and there's still the potential for labor strife impacting when or if the season begins.