Head coach Bill O'Brien returned to NRG Stadium last Friday to mark the Houston Texans slowly bring back football based on NFL protocols. The Texans have been slowly opening up NRG Stadium based on state and local regulations.
With the coaching staff allowed to return to the facilities and players to continue rehab with team personnel, the NFL is working on taking the next step on returning players to facilities in preparation for the 2020 season.
According to a memo obtained by NFL Network's Tom Pelissero, the league has started has put protocols in place for the Texans and the rest of the NFL to prepare for the return of players to their facilities.
“While these protocols have been carefully developed and are based on the most current information from leading experts," NFL commissioner Roger Goodell wrote in a memo to teams "No set of protocols can eliminate the risk of contracting Covid-19, nor ensure that the disease itself will be mild."
Goodell added, "We should expect that these protocols will change as the medical and scientific knowledge of this disease continues to grow. But we believe, along with the NFLPA, that these protocols offer a sound basis for bringing players back into the facilities and moving forward with our planning for the 2020 season."
There has been no timeline on when players are allowed to return to facilities despite the memo being sent out. NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported Monday that the league and the players union have mulled the option of having rookies and veteran players who still need physicals conducted to return to team facilities before June 26.
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If this holds true, the Texans could possibly bring back their rookie class, new players like David Johnson, Randall Cobb, Brandin Cooks, Eric Murray, Jaylen Watkins, Brent Qvale, and Michael Thomas to the facility to tie up any loose ends especially medically.
Among the protocols for players to return to team facilities, the Texans and the other 31 teams are to adhere to the following rules:
Important protocols for teams to return
- Teams must put in place protocols to allow players and staff to maintain six feet of distance from one another when at the facility. Teams must also reconfigure locker rooms to permit six feet of space where possible. The Texans have multiple locker rooms at NRG Stadium which would be easy for the team to help social distance.
- Team meetings will have to be conducted virtually when possible. If in-person meetings are required, the NFL says teams should attempt to hold them outdoors with proper social distancing.
- Helmets, shoulder pads, and other football equipment must be disinfected after each practice or game.
- All players and staff must wear masks at all times in the facility unless a mask cannot be worn due to interference with the performance of athletic activities.
- Prior to opening facilities to players, facilities must be closed to all personnel for a period of 48 hours to permit deep, comprehensive cleaning/disinfection by a professional service.
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