As the NFL works to finalize protocol for returning to team facilities amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the league intends to test players for the coronavirus about three times per week, then isolate any players who test positive for the respiratory disease. That's according to NFL Players Association medical director Thom Mayer, who announced the tentative plan Monday on a conference call with agents, per NFL Network's Tom Pelissero.
Mayer added that there's a 90 percent chance the NFL will have reliable saliva testing available before players return to facilities sometime in July. DeMaurice Smith, the NFLPA's executive director, noted on the call, per Pelissero, that his organization "expects to make headway on overall protocols" over the next month or so, with most teams not expected to report for summer training camp until late next month.
The NFL and NFLPA jointly released their first overview of COVID-19 protocols in a memo sent to teams earlier this month. Guidelines included rearranging locker rooms to ensure six feet of physical separation between staff and players, limiting group strength and conditioning workouts to no more than 15 people and conducting meetings virtually, when possible.
The league has already cancelled all in-person June minicamps and allowed teams to extend virtual offseason programs while prohibiting players from physically visiting team facilities. Only players already on a rehabilitation program can currently go to the facilities, along with a select number of coaches and front office personnel.