June 2 (UPI) — In a memo from NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, the league informed teams Tuesday that they must conduct training camps at their main practice facilities due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In addition, teams won’t be allowed to hold joint training camp practices with other teams this summer. The NFL and the NFL Players Association opted to keep teams close to home to limit travel and the risks associated with running two facilities.
“The NFLPA was strongly in favor of these two decisions, which were made to limit exposure risks by avoiding the need for clubs to clean and maintain two facilities, by limiting the need for players and club staffs to travel to another location (sometimes located at a considerable distance from the home facility) and by limiting travel and contact between players on different clubs in the context of joint practices,” Goodell said in the memo, which was obtained by NFL Media.
“These steps are being taken for the 2020 preseason to address the current conditions and are not expected to be in place in 2021.”
There were 10 teams that held camps at different sites last year. The directive prevents teams such as the Pittsburgh Steelers, Dallas Cowboys, Indianapolis Colts and others from traveling to remote sites to hold their training camps.
Since the franchise’s first season in 1995, the Carolina Panthers have held their camp at Wofford College in Spartanburg, S.C. The Steelers conduct their camp at St. Vincent College in Latrobe, Pa., while the Cowboys prepare for the upcoming season in Oxnard, Calif.
The Cowboys and the Steelers are scheduled to compete in the annual Hall of Fame Game on Aug. 6 in Canton, Ohio, and would be the first two teams to report at the end of July.
The NFL announced in mid-May that clubs could start reopening their facilities on a limited basis when state and local governments allowed it.
The league’s next phase of reopening began Monday and allowed teams to reopen ticket offices, retail shops and other customer-related facilities, as long as state and local regulations permitted it.