The NFL and NFLPA hammered out an agreement that clarifies the league’s plans for coronavirus testing according to Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.
The NFL will test players everyday for two weeks for the first two weeks of training camp. If the positive test rate after two weeks is below five percent, then the league will move to testing every other day. If the rate raises above five percent, the league will continue daily testing. The league will also revert to daily testing at any point where the rate goes above five percent.
“This is ongoing work,” Dr. Allen Sills, the NFL’s chief medical officer, said via ESPN. “There’s no finish line with health and safety, and I think these protocol are living, breathing documents, which means they will change as we get new information. They will undoubtedly be changing over time, which is what we usually see in medicine.”
Daily testing was a massive point of emphasis for the players in negotiations. San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman told Peter King of NBC Sports that the strong possibility of false negative and false positive tests were a big reason why players were adamant about receiving testing everyday. Considering football is a contact sport, it was fair for the players to have those concerns.
Completing a 16-game season is anything but a given, but the agreement to test daily at least puts the NFL step closer to starting a season.
“I don’t feel great about the chances,” Rams left tackle Andrew Whitworth said about finishing the season. “Not that it can’t be done. But it’s going to be hard this year to have a high quality of play, and play to the finish. How do you keep the game fair if teams have key players going in and out of the lineup? The calls I’ve been in on with the [NFLPA] this summer—there’s been more fear than I expected.”
The NFL and NFLPA still need to hammer out agreements surrounding financials and the amount of preseason games, but those should be resolved in the coming days.
Training camp starts this week for rookies and quarterbacks across the league. Players for the Texans and Chiefs took coronavirus tests on Monday and will proceed in 48 hours after they receive the results of those tests.
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