The NFL informed teams on Wednesday that the league has extended its virtual offseason through the month of May, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. The virtual offseason was initially scheduled to run through May 15 due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. As it relates to training camp, NFL teams are preparing their contingency plans, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, with several citing the Greenbrier in West Virginia -- which has hosted the Texans and Saints in the past -- as an option. Local colleges may also be an option for teams that will not be able to hold training camp in their usual locations. Nevada and Arizona are two other states that could be options for teams that may not be able to hold camp in their usual spots.
While the plan remains to have a 17-week regular season that begins on Sept. 10, the NFL has made several recent changes in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. On Tuesday, the NFL and club executives reportedly agreed on a proposal to raise the debt limit for each team from $350 million to $500 million for the 2020 season. Owners will officially vote on the proposal on May 19.
Last week, commissioner Roger Goodellstating that fans will be refunded if they purchase tickets for games that are ultimately canceled due to the pandemic. Fans will also receive a refund if the league prohibits fans from attending the game.
The NFL closed team facilities back in March while canceling physical offseason workouts. Since then, teams have been communicating virtually while working from home. When asked about when teams will once again be allowed to re-enter their facilities, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin recently said that while not giving certain teams an advantage.
"I subscribe to the approach of competitive fairness in our game, and that is everyone gets an opportunity," Tomlin said, via Mark Kaboly of The Athletic. "Our game is extremely competitive. It is one of the things that makes football at this level so attractive to our fans. I am committed to preserving and protecting that. And so all teams getting an opportunity to start on the same footing is an important element of that."
"They're part of what makes this sport," he said during an appearance on 'The Michael Kay Show'. "The fans are really what makes sports great in general. Just the atmosphere that they create in the stadium. Besides that, I think not having fans there. ... Just being able to hear my calls pretty loud and clear. It'll be different, to say the least. I think if that's the case, there might be a little adjustment period. But again, everyone's gonna have to adapt and get used to it."