Even just one month ago, the possibility of an NFL season starting on time had to have been in a little bit of doubt. Although the developing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic was bad though, the NFL still maintained that they would have a full regular season in 2020.
Now, as coronavirus has begun to get under control in the United States and other sports are beginning to return, it feels like there’s no doubt the NFL will go on business as usual for the 2020 season.
Recently, rumors have indicated that the NFL could be on track to get started for a complete regular season. It was unknown what kind of offseason workouts teams would get in though, but according to Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports, NFL minicamps could be right around the corner with coaches soon returning to offices:
With state governments eyeing an entry point for NFL franchises to resume offseason activities, sources tell Yahoo Sports that head coaches could return to team facilities as early as next week — with players potentially following in full-squad minicamps in mid to late June.
The sources told Yahoo Sports that if coaches resume their in-house work next week, minicamps including players could be scheduled as early as June 15 or as late as June 27, depending on COVID-19 data and whether a handful of franchises get a “go ahead” signal from state governments to resume full operations.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell confirmed that will be the case although the virtual offseason program has been extended for two more weeks, via Mike Garafolo of NFL Network:
NFL’s virtual offseason extended two more weeks, Roger Goodell says. Coaches could be back in facilities as soon as next week.
— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) May 28, 2020
For the Los Angeles Rams, California has been one of the most affected states outside of New York. California and the city of Los Angeles, in particular, have put forth extensive measures to ensure the safety of their citizens. Because of those measures, California’s reopening could be used as a sign for the NFL to start their own process of returning to in-person activities:
One league source told Yahoo Sports that a declaration from California Gov. Gavin Newsom will serve as the key hurdle in whether the NFL can pull off a fully operational minicamp in June. If Newsom opens the way for full team operations (without any fan attendance), the league could then give NFL franchises the option of holding a minicamp sometime in June, before breaking once again and setting dates for the opening of training camps.
“If California is open for [team] operations soon, minicamps can still happen in June — probably late June, I’d think — but maybe even mid-June,” the league source said.
Hopefully conditions across the nation will continue to improve and all sports can find a way to resume. One of the biggest questions for the NFL will be whether or not to allow fan access to games and practices throughout the offseason and regular season, and that could be answered in the coming weeks.