NFL teams exploring alternate training sites amid coronavirus


Some NFL teams are reportedly looking into out-of-state training camp sites in case state restrictions will make it impossible to hold camp at their normal location, according to Sports Illustrated.

Though the league has ordered the start of offseason programs to be held virtually, training camp and the start of the regular season remain on schedule as of now. The Giants hold camp at their training center in East Rutherford, N.J. while the Jets’ camp is at their facility in Florham Park, N.J. Both teams, of course, play at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy hopes to have “hard dates” by the end of the week for when the state can begin reopening.

Sports Illustrated also reported that many in the league are keen on keeping its season in line with the college season. Some have heard rumblings of the college season beginning on Oct. 1, per SI, with each school’s non-conference schedule eliminated.

If keeping both seasons aligned is a major priority, football fans could see the NFL start date pushed back to October as well.

The NFL released its entire schedule last week, which showed a preference for moving the season back instead of shortening it. With each team scheduled for a bye with its Week 2 opponent, it makes it easy to cut a week without losing a game.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the infectious disease expert who’s working on the White House’s coronavirus task force, has warned against premature reopenings, but said he can see a possibility of the NFL beginning on time. He said it would have to come with diligent testing and other precautionary measures.

“I would think that if there is an infected football player on the field — a middle linebacker, a tackle, whoever it is — as soon as they hit the next guy, the chances are that they will be shedding virus all over that person,” Fauci told NBC Sports. “If you really want to be in a situation where you want to be absolutely certain, you’d test all the players before the game, and you say, ‘Those who are infected: Sorry, you’re sidelined. Those who are free: Get in there and play.’”

If the NFL decides to open training camps in July, testing should be multiple times per week, according to Fauci. There’s still roughly eight weeks remaining until teams are allowed to open training camp.

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