The NFL has mostly been in the midst of their offseason, so they haven’t been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic so much…for now. However, with training camps right around the corner, and the pandemic still lingering, there could be some major implications in the fall. Let’s take a look and see how the coronavirus pandemic has weighed on professional football so far.
The Deadline to Opt-Out is Set
The deadline for NFL players to opt-out will be Thursday at 4 p.m. ET
The Opt-Outs Continue
Panthers linebacker Christian Miller is going to opt out of the 2020 season. The 2019 fourth-round pick notified the team that he is at high risk and believes this is what’s best for his long-term future.
Vikings Players Start to Return
Vikings have activated LB Anthony Barr and DE Ifeadi Odenigbo off the reserve/COVID-19 list. That leaves them with five players on the list.
Philadelphia Eagles’ Head Coach Doug Pederson Tests Positive
A stunner out of the NFL Sunday night as Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Pederson has tested positive for COVID-19. He is the second NFL coach to have the coronavirus. The Saints’ Sean Payton tested positive and recovered months ago. Pederson is asymptomatic and will self-quarantine.
— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) August 3, 2020
Another Patriot Opts-Out
New England Patriots tight end Matt LaCosse has opted out of the 2020 campaign, NFL Network’s Michael Giardi reported. He added that LaCosse and his wife are expecting their first child in November. LaCosse, who signed a two-year deal in March, is the eighth Patriot to forgo the upcoming season;
Jags’ Gardner Minshew II Lands on Reserve/COVID-19 List
We have placed RB Ryquell Armstead, TE Charles Jones, QB Gardner Minshew II, WR Michael Walker and S Andrew Wingard on the Reserve/COVID-19 list. pic.twitter.com/OmVTi3HcJh
— #DUUUVAL (@Jaguars) August 2, 2020
Bills’ DB Opts-Out
Bills cornerback E.J. Gaines is the latest player to opt-out of the 2020 season. Gaines informed the team he won’t be playing because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Lions’ Matt Stafford Lands on Reserve/COVID-19 List
The #Lions have placed QB Matthew Stafford on the COVID-19 list, per the wire.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) August 1, 2020
Jets’ C.J. Mosley Opts-Out
The New York Jets traded Jamal Adams and now will be without LB C.J. Mosley, who has opted-out of the 2020 season due to family health concerns. Mosley signed a massive deal as a free agent from the Baltimore Ravens in 2019 and played in two games due to injury.
In another AFC East opt-out, Marquise Lee became the seventh New England Patriot exit.
The Reserve COVID-19 List Keeps Growing
Cleveland placed Jamie Gllan on the list. The punter is known as “The Scottish Hammer.”
Green Bay put placed longtime kicker Mason Crosby, defensive tackle Treyvon Hester and tight end Jace Sternberger on the list.
The Minnesota Vikings placed linebacker Anthony Barr on the list.
Among others: Denver TE Andrew Beck, Raiders RB Devontae Booker, and the Bills’ DBs Dane Jackson and Siran Neal.
Lions’ Kenny Golladay Heads to Reserve/COVID-19 list
Detroit Lions star receiver Kenny Golladay was one of five players on the team to be placed on the reserve/COVID-19 injured list. Golladay has more than 1,000 receiving yards and 11 TD receptions in 2019. Also added were tight end T.J. Hockenson, the No. 1 pick of the team last season. Cornerback Amani Oruwariye, safety Jalen Elliott and punter Arryn Siposs will start camp on the COVID list.
Chiefs’ Super Bowl star Damien Williams Opts-Out of 2020 season
The Kansas Chiefs will be without running back Damien WIlliams in 2020. The RB who rushed for 104 yards and scored two touchdowns in the victory over the San Francisco 49ers opted-out of the season Wednesday due to COVID-19 concerns.
The list per NFL.com:
Buffalo Bills: DT Star Lotulelei
Dallas Cowboys: CB Maurice Canady, WR Stephen Guidry
Green Bay Packers: WR Devin Funchess
Houston Texans: DT Eddie Vanderdoes
Kansas City Chiefs: OL Laurent Duvernay-Tardif
New England Patriots: LB Dont’a Hightower, FB Dan Vitale, RB Brandon Bolden, OL Najee Toran
Philadelphia Eagles: Marquise Goodwin
Tennessee Titans: OL Anthony McKinney
HIGHER RISK OPT-OUTS
Minnesota Vikings: DT Michael Pierce
New England Patriots: OL Marcus Cannon
Washington Football Team: DE Caleb Brantley
Carolina Panthers: LB Jordan Mack
Chicago Bears: DT Eddie Goldman
Cleveland Browns: G Drew Forbes, T Drake Dorbeck
Denver Broncos: DT Kyle Peko
Detroit Lions: DT John Atkins
Kansas City Chiefs: RB Damien Williams
New England Patriots: S Patrick Chung
New Orleans Saints: TE Jason Vander Laan, TE Cole Wick
New York Giants: OL Nate Solder
New York Jets: OL Leo Koloamatangi
Philadelphia Eagles: WR Marquise Goodwin
New York Giants OT Nate Solder Opt-Out of 2020 Season
One of the main protectors for the New York Giants’ quarterbacks will not be with the team for the 2020 NFL season. Veteran offensive lineman Nate Solder has opted-out to be with his family has his young son battles cancer.
Giants OT Nate Solder announced he has has opted out of the 2020 season. pic.twitter.com/JJuYaPNH0m
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) July 29, 2020
Flood of Players Opt Out of the 2020 Season
The list of players who are opting out of the season keeps growing and growing and … Check this tracker to see some of the names. Wide receiver Devin Funchess of the Green Bay Packers and WR Marquise Goodwin of the Eagles are two of the latest.
6 New England Patriots have opted out
The opt-out merry-go-round took a huge hit on the New England Patriots. Two stars have decided to skip the season: linebacker Dont’a Hightower and safety Patrick Chung Joining Hightower and Chung are fullback Danny Vitale are running back Brandon Bolden, right tackle Marcus Cannon, and guard Najee Toran also opted out.
Commissioner Officially Cancels NFL Preseason Games
There will be no preseason games in the NFL in 2020. Commissioner Roger Goodell made the expected official Monday in an open letter.
“The NFL in 2020 will not look like other years,” Goodell wrote. “Players and coaches will be tested for the virus regularly, including every day for a while. Preseason games have been canceled.”
Goodell wrote that late summer and early fall are usually “the most optimistic time of year for our fans, and for all 32 teams.”
“In a year that has been extraordinarily difficult for our country and the world, we hope the energy of this moment will provide some much-needed optimism,” Goodell wrote.
Multiple Veterans Opt Out of 2020 NFL Season
A number of familiar names have opted out of the 2020 season due to the pandemic. Joining the Chiefs’ Laurent Duvernay-Tardif are Ravens kick returner/wide receiver De’Anthony Thomas, Seahawks guard Chance Warmack, Cowboys cornerback Maurice Canady, and Patriots fullback Danny Vitale. They will receive a salary of $150,000. Also, Washington defensive end Caleb Brantle is the first player to take the “high risk” opt-out. Brantley, who played in one game last season, will receive a $350,000 stipend.
Vikings Head Trainer, Family Test Positive
Minnesota Vikings head trainer Eric Sugarman and his family have tested positive for COVID-19, the team announced Monday.
STATEMENT FROM ERIC SUGARMAN
This weekend my family and I tested positive for COVID-19. We immediately quarantined and began to follow the established protocols. At this time we are all doing fine and experiencing only mild symptoms.
STATEMENT FROM THE VIKINGS
We learned over the weekend Minnesota Vikings Head Athletic Trainer and Vice President of Sports Medicine and the team’s Infection Control Officer Eric Sugarman, along with members of his family, tested positive for COVID-19. Eric immediately shared his results with the organization and began to follow the previously established comprehensive protocol created by the NFL and national and local health experts. Eric and his family are currently in self-quarantine and providing daily updates on their well-being.
NFL Updates July 16, 2020
Free Agency Changed, NFL Draft Shifted
The NFL played out it’s Super Bowl for the 2019 season (in February of 2020) and for the most part, everything was still fine in the United States at the time. There was no worry about the pandemic, there was no social distancing and there was no worry about shutdowns. However, as we moved throughout the offseason, everything changed.
First off, the NFL had to alter their plans for free agency as players who would normally make visits and do physicals had to scale back. Later in the offseason, the league had planned to have its first-ever NFL Draft in Las Vegas on the Bellagio Fountains but that had to be rearranged. Eventually, it was done in a virtual manner.
Beyond that, spring minicamps and voluntary activities have mostly been canceled or moved online. They haven’t had to worry about games being canceled just yet, but as the season approaches and the virus still lingers, it has to be taken into consideration.
NFL Preseason Canceled
The NFL and the Players Union have already agreed to ax much of the preseason. For now, the league has canceled two weeks of preseason football as well as the Hall of Fame Game. For the most part, nobody is going to miss these games too much, but it does mean that teams could be rusty in Week 1. As of now, there are still two weeks of preseason action on the schedule, but with many states experiencing coronavirus spikes, we might see the league and players come to an agreement where the whole preseason is canceled and the focus simply shifts to playing Week 1.
Training Camps About To Start
The league is moving forward with training camps as rookies are set to start arriving next week. We’re going to see what the league’s safety protocols look like, but we can expect to see plenty of players testing positive for COVID-19. As of July 10th, 72 players had already tested positive for the coronavirus. While this isn’t a concern for most of the athletes like wide receivers and cornerbacks, this could become a serious problem for players like offensive and defensive lineman. COVID-19 is mostly safe for young, healthy people who have no underlying conditions. However, the linemen could be viewed as overweight and that could lead to some serious issues.
NFL Season Starts Sept. 5
While the college football season might be a question mark at this point, there’s no reason to think we won’t see the NFL this season. So many other major sports have made it back and the NFL will too – even if they have to go the full season without fans.
The first game of the year will start with the Houston Texans and Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday, September 5th. It’ll be a rematch of their Divisional Round playoff showdown where the Texans led 24-0 early in the first half but ended up completely blowing the game to the eventual Super Bowl champions.