NFL and players agree on COVID-19 testing procedures, with decision looming on preseason

Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com

As the preseason fast approaches, the NFL and NFLPA agreed to COVID-19 testing procedures for players on Monday. However, there could be no preseason anyway.

ESPN's Adam Schefter reported late on Monday that the league offered players to cancel the rest of the 2020 preseason. This comes after two games had already been cut from the preseason schedule. It would mark Sept. 13 as opening day for the Patriots, who are scheduled to face the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium.

The new offer comes after both sides reached an agreement on testing procedures for players. Spurring those efforts was a coordinated series of player statements over the weekend that called for improved health and safety protocols.

According to a league memo obtained by Ian Rapoport, players will undergo a five-day testing procedure before returning to their team's facilities. They will get a nasal swab on Days 1 and 4, with daily testing beginning on Day 5. At that point, players who test negative will be able to return. Players will need to self-quarantine between tests.

FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - MAY 08: New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and Patriots Community Relations Director Donna Spigarolo look over boxes of food at the "Soup-R Bowl" at Gillette Stadium on May 08, 2020 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. The Patriots Foundation and Massachusetts Military Support Foundation worked in partnership to provide meals to 1000 military families suffering from food insecurity. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Patriots owner Robert Kraft and Community Relations Director Donna Spigarolo look over boxes of food at the "Soup-R Bowl" at Gillette Stadium on May 08, 2020 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. The Patriots Foundation and Massachusetts Military Support Foundation worked in partnership to provide meals to 1,000 military families suffering from food insecurity. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Once training camp begins, players will be tested daily for two weeks. If the total positive tests are under 5 percent, teams can reduce testing to every other day. If positives go over 5 percent, it's back to daily testing.

The NFL released a brief statement on its agreement with the league: "Our union has been pushing for the strongest testing, tracing and treatment protocols to keep our players safe. The testing protocols we agreed to are one critical factor that will help us return to work safely and gives us the best chance to play and finish the season."

Training camp will be one thing. It remains to be seen whether the NFL can keep COVID under control when the players start smashing into each other repeatedly. But at least the two sides were able to finish off this cram session to get something in place with veterans expected to report by July 28.

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 [email protected].