By Peter Brennan
The NFL draft will take place April 23-25 in a TV studio instead of on the Vegas Strip because of the pandemic.
But what about the regular season, which is scheduled to start in September?
Although the league is hopeful of starting on time and in front of packed stadiums, its chief medical officer, Dr. Allen Sills, said yesterday that widespread testing for the coronavirus must be met for that to happen.
Sills’ comments to NFL.com came two days after the league’s general counsel, Jeff Pash, told reporters on a conference call that the “expectation” is to begin the regular season as scheduled in September.
Sills acknowledged that outcome is just one of many given the fluidity of the pandemic’s effect and how the country continues to try to deal with it.
“I think what was implied there [by Pash] was to say we are not at a point where we are saying that is absolutely not going to happen so we should continue our planning and preparations as if we’re going to be able to do that,” Sills told NFL.com. “But obviously we’re going to have to evaluate that along the way. And follow what the recommendations are from public health officials and from our infectious-disease experts and others.”
Among the conditions Sills noted must be met for the NFL to begin practices and games on time is the availability of point-of-care coronavirus tests — which yield quick results and can be done off-site from hospitals, for example — and the removal of gathering restrictions due to the pandemic.
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