The NFL partnered with Oakley this summer to develop new face shields for player helmets, which would theoretically help limit the exposure of COVID-19 on the field. As the 2020 season draws near, at least one prominent player has begun practicing with such a visor. Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson told Joel McHale on "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" Tuesday that while he thinks it'd be "crazy" for the NFL to require players to wear face shields this year, he wants to be ready in case they do.
"That's gonna be crazy if we have to do that," Wilson said. "I've actually been practicing with it, though, every day just so I can get used to it if we have to. But, you know, we're already out there already. So it's a little bit late maybe, for that."
Wilson is alluding to the fact that most NFL teams are expected to report to training camp this week, whereas the league and NFL Players Association have reportedly yet to finalize protocol involving COVID-19 equipment. As the Associated Press reported in June, player leadership worked alongside the NFL as Oakley developed prototypes for face shields, which would essentially replace traditional helmet visors. But it's unclear if the NFL will actually mandate that all players use the shields. Players reportedly "shot down" an alternative option to wear specially designed face masks.
Wilson, in particular, has recently been vocal about demanding specifics from the NFL regarding COVID-19 protocol in 2020. The Pro Bowler was among the biggest names to lead an NFLPA social media campaign on Sunday, when dozens of players called out league leadership and asked for safety measures to be ironed out ahead of the season.
"It's really, really important that we do it the right way at the highest level," Wilson told McHale. "I think that's what the concern is. At the end of the day, we want to play. But we want to do it in a safe way."