- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 21, 2020

The Washington Redskins’ rookie class did not report for training camp Tuesday, as originally scheduled, while the NFL and the players’ union continue to negotiate details of a return during the coronavirus pandemic.

The league sent a memo to teams over the weekend that laid out a July 21 reporting date for rookies. But as negotiations continue, a source familiar with Washington’s situation said rookies will likely report Thursday, along with quarterbacks and injured players. The rest of the team will arrive July 28, the official start of training camp.

On Monday, the NFL and the players appeared to make significant progress on health and safety protocols. The two sides agreed on daily coronavirus testing for the first two weeks of camp — a key priority for players. After two weeks, that frequency will drop to every other day as longas the rate of positive tests remain below 5%. Tests will be administered daily if the positive rate is above that threshold.

The NFL has also proposed having no preseason games — an offer that the union reportedly told its players Tuesday that it had accepted. 

The league had already offered earlier to cut the preseason from four games to two.

Testing and preseason were among the major issues for the sides to sort out, but there are still remaining hurdles, including calculating how this season’s anticipated revenue losses will impact the salary cap. The NFL Network reported Monday that the two sides have “made some real progress.”

The two sides also need a deal on training camps.

The NFL Network reported Tuesday that the league’s plan calls for an adjustment period in which players will not put on pads until the 20th day of camp.

The proposal plans for players to gradually increase their activity. For instance, teams will conduct only testing and physicals for the first five or six days of camp before switching to walkthroughs.

The league and the union also have yet to agree on an opt-out policy for players who do not want to play in the upcoming season.

The union must sign off on each individual team’s Infectious Disease Emergency Response plan, and on Tuesday, the union said only eight clubs had been approved so far. Dr. Allen Sills, the NFL’s chief medical officer, said Monday the league had approved all 32 plans on their end.

The Redskins — the team is still using the name while management works on rebranding the franchise — isn’t the only club with rookies reporting later than scheduled. The Minnesota Vikings, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Miami Dolphins have also said that their rookie class won’t show up until Thursday.

Rookies from the Houston Texans and the Kansas City Chiefs reported for camp on Monday. Those two teams were allowed to show up earlier since they are facing each other in the first game of the upcoming season, scheduled Sept. 10.

The clubs spent the day conducting coronavirus tests, according to multiple reports.

Players must pass two coronavirus tests in a row before being allowed access into their team facility, with each test taken 72 hours apart.

According to Sports Business Journal, the NFL will spend nearly $75 million on coronavirus testing. The league will use BioReference Laboratories to diagnose the testing, the same company handling the NBA’s restart near Orlando, Florida. The NFL expects results back within 24 hours of each test.

The progress made recently comes after a number of high-profile players took to social media over the weekend to criticize the league for the lack of a safety plan. In a coordinated effort, quarterbacks like Patrick Mahomes and Drew Brees sent tweets calling for action, ending their posts with the hashtag “#WeWanTtoPlay.”

On Monday, the NFL Players Association said in a statement that the protocols agreed upon will “help us return to work safely and gives us the best chance of play and finish the season.”

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