Earlier this month, the NFL released a new face shield, designed by Oakley, that was created to help stop the spread of COVID-19 when players return to the field for the 2020 season. Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson has already started wearing the new face shield as he prepares for the start of training camp.
While the league wants every player to wear the face shield, the expectation is that the league will not make it mandatory, according to NFL Network's Mike Garofolo. The first version of Oakley's face shield will be available to every NFL team when players arrived for the start of training camp. At that time, players will have the opportunity to test the face shield. Oakley has already started working on an updated version as well.
Update on the face shields the NFL developed with Oakley to prevent the spread of Covid: The expectation is they will be recommended but NOT required for players, a source informed of talks between the NFL and NFLPA says. The league had been pushing for them to be worn by all. pic.twitter.com/ikar8AmEF0— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) July 23, 2020
Dr. Jeff Crandall, chairman of the NFL's Engineering Committee, said that Oakley received feedback from NFL players during their creation of the face shield.
"The player feedback was integral in coming up with this design," Crandall said. "(Oakley) would start with this design and say, 'Do you like this one better or this one? How's your field of view on this one?'
"At the end, they did have feedback from players. This was their choice for the players they've evaluated so far. I think each player is going to have an evaluation for themselves in terms of exactly how they favor one concept versus another."
Earlier this week, the NFLPA and the league agreed to implement several new protocols for the start of training camp. Players will be tested every day for the first two weeks of camp, according to Allen Sills, the NFL's chief medical officer. It is expected that players will need more than one negative test before being allowed to enter team facilities.
After two weeks, the rate of positive test for the players, coaches and staff who are in close contact with the team will be examined. If findings show that the rate of positive tests is below 5%, testing will move to every other day. Earlier this week, the NFLPA revealed that 59 players have tested positive for COVID-19 at some point prior to the start of training camp.
The NFL recently elected to cancel the 2020 preseason, as teams are set to begin training camp later this month. And while the league is still intent on having its typical regular and postseasons, Las Vegas Raiders owner Mark Davis recently said that canceling the 2020 season is still a viable option.
"I don't even know if it's safe to play. 'Uncertainty' is the word," Davis said in an interview with ESPN.com. "Everything is up in the air with the virus and how it will affect our league and season."