According to ESPN and NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, the National Football League is ready to make a return on July 27 and announced it would allow for open training camps, pending finalized state and local legislation. Furthermore, 30 of the league’s 32 teams have already received the go-ahead from their respective state and local governments to operate at full capacity when the season begins.
The Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos are still working towards getting legal approval for 100% capacity by the season’s kickoff. Peter O’Reilly, the NFL’s Exec. VP of club business and league events sounded optimistic and affirmed that “both have a clear path” for securing their requests, though.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Dallas Cowboys will be allowed to start their training camps before July 27, however, because at least one of them will be involved in either the Hall of Fame preseason game or the regular-season kickoff game on Sept. 9.
O’Reilly acknowledges that regaining a sense of normalcy may take time but also knows this kind of news is a step in the right direction. “It won’t likely look exactly the same as a normal training camp as far as proximity to players and autographs and some of the other things,” he said. “But we’re excited to be able to communicate that fans will be able to enjoy an accessible part of the calendar.”
The league says it has no plans to exercise any rules beyond what the law says, and there are talks for July 31 to be a “tentpole day” so fans can begin making visits to see camps in action again.
The NFL Players Association is still ironing out the specific training protocols. Still, O’Reilly thinks there will have to be some changes to standard procedures versus how they used to be pre-Covid.