New England Patriots

FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - AUGUST 28: New England Patriots players jog on the field during training camp at Gillette Stadium on August 28, 2020 in Foxborough, Massachusetts.

On Tuesday, NFL Network’s Judy Battista reported that the NFL has made strong progress in reopening their stadiums to fans. 30 of the 32 teams (including the Patriots) have been cleared for full attendance, with the other two ‘on track.’

However, something else Battista mentioned could have fans seeing the team in person before the first preseason game kicks off. According to Battista, NFL Executive Vice President of Club Business & League Events Peter O’Reilly informed team presidents that ‘training camps can have fans in attendance.’

It’s likely the Patriots will need local approval as well to have fans at training camp. This news also doesn’t confirm the fan experience will be the same – for instance, it’s hard to see how the traditional post-practice autograph sessions would fit the league’s guidelines. For the fans themselves, the league says the NFL will go by state and local guidelines for practices and games.

In another update to the protocol this year, camp is expected to begin on Saturday, July 31 with veteran reporting on that Thursday. In the past, practices began on the last Thursday in July, with players reporting on Monday.

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Alex Barth is a writer and 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. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at abarth@985TheSportsHub.com.