NFL expects to play full 2020 season on schedule despite coronavirus pandemic, with release planned for May

The NFL, like every organized sport at the moment, is currently trying to deal with the fallout of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic that has swept the globe.

As the league continues to navigate through uncharted waters, it is trying to keep things running on schedule. Free agency -- albeit with new rules and restrictions -- went off as planned back on March 17. The NFL Draft, while it will no longer be taking place in Las Vegas, is still scheduled to begin on Thursday, April 23, with the entirety of the draft being broadcast, per usual.

On Tuesday, the NFL announced on a conference call that it expects to release the 2020 regular season schedule "no later than May 9," according to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero. In recent years, the schedule has been released in mid-April prior to the draft. The news comes after the NFL owners (as expected) approved the expansion of the 2020 playoffs from 12 to 14 teams.

NFL executive Jeff Pash also announced on Tuesday that the NFL fully intends to have a full season in 2020 despite uncertain circumstances caused by COVID-19.

"Our planning, our expectation, is fully directed at playing a full season starting on schedule and having a full regular season and a full set of playoffs," Pash said, via Pelissero. "Am I certain? I'm not certain that I'll be here tomorrow. But I'm planning on it."

When asked several follow-up questions about the NFL's contingency plans, Pash said that "[a]ll of our discussions and focus have been on a normal traditional season, starting on time, playing in front of fans, in our regular stadiums," per CBS Sports NFL insider Jonathan Jones.

Pash added that the NFL's annual spring meeting, which is scehduled from May 18-20 in California, is still expected to take place. Pash is also optimistic that the league will continue to play international games next season, as well.

While the league continues to conduct off-field business-related matter, the NFL's coaches and players have been prohibited from entering their facility until further notice. The league has also canceled any offseason voluntary workouts until further notice.

With regard to the NFL's 2020 regular season schedule, this may be the final 17-week season before the league expands to an 18-week season, as laid out in the new collective bargaining agreement.

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