Today, NFL executives received a statement from the league about the start of training camp.
Training camp appears to be starting on time, and players will be 'back on the grass'. The letter from Troy Vincent, the VP of Football Operations, was pretty simple. Rookies report on July 21st, quarterbacks and injured players on the 23rd, and everyone else reports to camp on the 28th.
Although this appears to be good news, there are still so many hurdles to jump through. The NFL still hasn't released the full guidelines. How much contact will be allowed? Can teams scrimmage with the full squad or will they be stuck in position groups? How many players are allowed to report to training camp? Usually it's 90, but there have been talks about reducing the roster size to minimize risk. There are a ton of logistical questions that the league still needs to sort out, but even more importantly, how do the players feel?
Allen Robinson's reaction doesn't come off as overly enthusiastic. It's not that he doesn't want to play; he's even hinted that he doesn't really worry about COVID-19 risks. Many NFL players have expressed this same attitude towards the virus, but there is another factor coming into play — money. There have been rumblings regarding structuring contracts differently or deferring payment to later years. The NFL and NFLPA did just sign a new ten-year deal which provides some confidence, but almost nothing has gone as planned in 2020. Anything could happen.
While COVID-19 concerns will linger, the NFL cannot pull an MLB and let greed be the issue that derails a return to play. Pay the damn players and give us a football season.