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NFL players considering the elimination of all preseason games

The NFL shield logo is displayed on a goal post at Pittsburgh's Heinz Field in September 2013.
(Keith Srakocic / Associated Press)

The NFL preseason appears to be dwindling by the day.

After the NFL proposed this week to cut the exhibition season from four games to two, the NFL Players Assn. is entertaining the idea of a summer without preseason games.

The union conducted conference calls Thursday and Friday to address the issues surrounding resuming play amid the COVID-19 pandemic. According to multiple reports, the player representatives voted to recommend that no games be played.

“Think that’s smart,” Rams tackle Andrew Whitworth said by text Friday evening. “I think we just prepare to pull off the season. No need to risk travel or exposure that’s not a real game.”

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Under the plan the NFL worked out this week, the games in Weeks 1 and 4 would be eliminated, and Weeks 2 and 3 would be played with each team getting a home and away game. The league would stick to its existing schedule for Week 2, but potentially would have new matchups in Week 3.

With less than a month before the July 28 start of training camps, the NFL and NFLPA have agreed to safety protocols around team headquarters but are still working on some major issues. For instance, if a player tests positive for COVID-19, will he continue to be paid? Will he be placed on injured reserve? And how are new players brought in as temporary replacements?

According to NFL Network, the NFLPA has proposed a four-stage protocol to replace the preseason. That reportedly would consist of medical physicals upon player arrivals, a 21-day strength-and-conditioning program, 10 days of noncontact, non-padded practices, and finally a traditional two-week camp with a maximum of eight padded practices.


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