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Coronavirus Updates

Jan 31, 2018; Minneapolis, MN, USA; NFL commissioner Roger Goodell (right) meets with New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft (left) and president Jonathan Kraft prior to a press conference in advance of Super Bowl LII between the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles at Hilton Minneapolis. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com

The NFL announced Thursday that it is cancelling its annual spring owners meeting scheduled for March 29-April 1, in a reaction to growing concerns about the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy tweeted a statement on Thursday that the league is still planning to hold its owners meeting scheduled for May 19-20. Any issues that were to be discussed this month will simply be pushed back to that meeting. Head coaches and GMs are also expected to be involved in the meetings.

“The decision was made consistent with the league’s primary concern to protect the health of club and league employees and the public while enabling the league to continue with its essential business operations,” the statement reads in part. As of Thursday afternoon, the NFL is not expected to postpone the start of the league year next Wednesday, but teams are considering or implementing cancellations of pre-draft visits to their facilities.

According to Andrew Callahan of the Boston Herald, the Patriots are considering such measures but haven’t decided on anything yet, including banning scouts from traveling.

As of Thursday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have confirmed or presumed 1,215 reported cases and 36 deaths in the U.S. due to coronavirus. The World Health Organization and CDC have confirmed 95 cases in Massachusetts alone. Twenty-nine of the reported deaths in the U.S. originated from senior homes in the Seattle area.

Patriots owner Robert Kraft, who is 78 years old, would be considered someone at higher risk of serious illness resulting from contraction of the virus.

Per Albert Breer of The MMQB, the league still plans to hold virtual meetings in lieu of convening in person. But if necessary, it’s understandable that discussions on how to fix NFL officiating and the new CBA, among other pure football issues, can wait for now. Coronavirus is sweeping the sports world, and the leagues not currently playing are not safe either.

Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at matthew.dolloff@bbgi.com.