NFL details guidelines for players to return after COVID-19


NFL commissioner Roger Goodell on Monday morning sent out a memo to all 32 teams outlining the protocols required for players to return to NFL facilities after the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In all, it’s a long document. Here’s a copy of it obtained by Albert Breer of TheMMQB: 

As it stands now, the Eagles are still proceeding with their virtual offseason. So players and coaches are not yet back in the NovaCare Complex. While NFL coaches are allowed to be in NFL facilities right now, the Eagles have elected to wait for that step until around training camp. 

The Eagles opened the NovaCare Complex and Lincoln Financial Field on Monday but for select personnel only. 

The next big step for the NFL will come when players are reintroduced to the facilities as the league prepares for a 2020 season. We don’t know when players will be allowed back into facilities but at least we know what will need to take place in order for that to happen. 

The document is long and cumbersome, so here are some of the highlights: 

• The entire staff of NFL teams will be split into three tiers for access purposes. Here they are: 

Tier 1: Players, coaches, athletic trainers, team physicians, head strength and conditioning coaches, head equipment managers 

The maximum number of Tier 1 people is 60 in addition to players on the roster. 

Tier 2: Club facility staff, additional coaches and strength and conditioning coaches, additional trainers and equipment managers, ownership, general managers, football operations staff, security personnel, etc 

Tier 2 people will have access to restricted areas as needed, but will have to limit time in those restricted areas and avoid close contact with Tier 1 individuals whenever possible. 

Tier 3: Operational personnel, in-house media and broadcast personnel, field manager, additional stadium and security personnel. 

These people are only granted access to restricted areas when Tier 1 and Tier 2 people are not present. 

• All players or staff who enter restricted areas (locker rooms, sidelines, etc.) must undergo daily screening and testing. 

• There will also be physical distancing regulations. All players and staff are to maintain 6 feet of distance from one another inside the facility. Common areas must be spread out and one-way traffic patterns should be used. 

• The memo asks all teams to have 6 feet between lockers “where possible,” which will be impossible in the NovaCare Complex and, really, any NFL facility. Perhaps the Eagles can also use their locker room across the street at the Linc as well. 

• Teams are asked to hold virtual meetings when possible and to limit the size of workout groups to 15. 

• Before opening to players, teams must completely close their facilities for 48 hours for deep cleaning from a professional service. 

• There are also additional cleaning elements and mandates for surfaces and air flow. 

• Players are to wear masks at all times while in the facility “unless a mask cannot be worn by players due to the interference with performance of athletic activities.” So, basically, they won’t wear them when they lift weights or work out. 

• Each team needs to come up with an IDER (Infectious Disease Emergency Response) plan. There need to be two levels to this plan: 1. Fewer than 20 players, 2. More than 20 players. 

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