NFL gives teams planner for total reopening of facilities

FILE - In this Dec. 12, 2018, file photo, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell speaks during a news conference in Irving, Texas. Coaches will be allowed to return to NFL team facilities beginning Friday as the league continues preparation for training camps and its season. Commissioner Roger Goodell told the 32 clubs on Thursday, June 4, 2020, that coaching staffs may from team complexes starting Friday. (AP Photo/LM Otero, File)
FILE - In this Dec. 12, 2018, file photo, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell speaks during a news conference in Irving, Texas. Coaches will be allowed to return to NFL team facilities beginning Friday as the league continues preparation for training camps and its season. Commissioner Roger Goodell told the 32 clubs on Thursday, June 4, 2020, that coaching staffs may from team complexes starting Friday. (AP Photo/LM Otero, File) (Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

The NFL and the players' union sent a planner to the 32 teams Monday outlining procedures for the full reopening of their practice facilities, which were closed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

In a lengthy four-part memo to the clubs written by Commissioner Roger Goodell and approved by the NFL Players Association, the league described protocols focusing on screening, testing, and infection prevention and treatment for COVID-19, including response for new infections. Also included were instructions on proper facility access, cleaning and disinfecting; physical distancing; hygiene, health education and medical services; food preparation; supplies; and team travel.

No timetable has been set for the return of most players to team complexes — only players rehabilitating injuries have been allowed to enter the buildings. But this is the next major step toward allowing all players back in club facilities.

Goodell ordered all facilities closed in late March, and the league has taken small steps toward reopening them. Last week, coaching staffs were approved to return, but only if local governmental rules allowed it.

Goodell noted that the protocols for a full return were developed in consultation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Duke's Infection Control Network and other universities.

“No set of protocols can eliminate the risk of contracting COVID-19, nor ensure that the disease itself will be mild,” Goodell wrote in the memo, which was obtained by The Associated Press. “And we should expect that these protocols will change as medical and scientific knowledge of the 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.”

Training camps are scheduled to begin in late July, with the first preseason game, Dallas vs. Pittsburgh in the Hall of Fame game, on Aug. 6. The NFL still plans to kick off the regular season in Kansas City on Sept. 10.

A tiered approached will be used within team facilities and must be presented to the league for approval at least seven days before the reporting date for training camp. Players, most coaches, trainers, physicians and the head equipment manager — anyone who must have direct access to players — will be in Tier 1, with a maximum of 60 in addition to the players. They will have access to such restricted areas as fields and sidelines, locker rooms, training rooms, medical exam areas, meeting rooms and weight rooms.