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Roger Goodell says NFL must remain flexible to finish season

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell walks on the field before a game.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell walks on the field before a game Oct. 20, 2019, in East Rutherford, N.J.
(Bill Kostroun / Associated Press)

Amid a flurry of positive COVID-19 tests that led to a reshuffling of games, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said the league must remain flexible and adaptable to complete a full regular season, the playoffs and the Super Bowl.

“I’m proud of the way players and clubs have come together during these unprecedented times,” Goodell said on a conference call Tuesday after a two-hour meeting with club owners and other league executives. “We stressed again today that we cannot grow complacent — not players, not coaches, not the rest of our personnel. Ninety percent is not good enough in this environment. We have to be incredibly diligent and disciplined.”

The NFL released its most up-to-date testing numbers Tuesday, results between Oct. 4 and Oct. 10, disclosing that 37,912 tests were administered to 7,820 players and team personnel. Eight players and seven team personnel tested positive.

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“The events of the last two to three weeks have taught us a lot,” said Dr. Allen Sills, the league’s chief medical officer. “They have led to protocol changes and clarifications.

“There is a significant increase in COVID-19 cases in a lot of our club communities, and that’s going to pose an ongoing challenge. Because, obviously, when our players, coaches,and staff leave the club environment and they go home, they are surrounded by other household members, children may be in school and things of that nature. So I think that challenges us to redouble our efforts, to go back to those measures that we know keep us safe, and really make sure, as the commissioner outlined, that we are diligent across the board.”

Asked about the possibility of the league creating an NBA-type bubble for the playoffs, Sills said: “We’ve said all along that all options are on the table. We continue to look at every range of any strategy that will make it safe. So we’ve been discussing a bubble since back in March, and we’ve done that in conjunction with the Players Assn. and their medical advisors.

“But I think we all have to realize there are no perfect situations here.”


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