NFL, union extend daily COVID-19 testing into regular season

Testing required days before games, before travel

FILE - In this Nov. 4, 2018 file photo, the NFL logo is displayed on the field at the Bank of American Stadium before an NFL football game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte, N.C. The NFL revealed Sunday, Aug. 23, 2020, that several positive COVID-19 tests were found a day earlier by one of its testing partners, and the Chicago Bears said they had nine false positives. (AP Photo/Nell Redmond, File) (Nell Redmond, Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Daily testing for COVID-19, except on game days, has been extended into the regular season by the NFL and the players’ union.

All players and other team personnel categorized in Tiers 1 and 2 will continue to be tested each day, a process that has worked relatively well for the league as it approaches the first game on Thursday night in Kansas City. With no testing on game days, the pregame coronavirus exams will be conducted on the day before the game and must be completed before a club travels.

NFL Players Association President JC Tretter of the Cleveland Browns recently called for a continuation of daily testing.

“In the spirit of adaptability, expect the NFLPA to push for modifications or updated recommendations — such as the continuation of daily testing — as the season progresses and new information becomes available,” Tretter posted on the union website last week. “We will continue to rely on scientific data to inform our approach for combating this virus. As the science evolves, we will evolve with it.”

In a memo Saturday to all 32 teams, the protocols for the upcoming season were detailed. They include masks being recommended but not required for players on the sidelines, except in San Francisco and Buffalo, where local regulations require them; access to team facilities on the day after a game for players and anyone else in Tiers 1 and 2 being prohibited unless they require medical treatment or the club has a short week; no travel to an away game on the day of the game; and reducing coin toss participants to one per team, with face coverings.

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