NFL teams curtail or stop scouting; main owners meeting off

NFL teams are curtailing or completely stopping scouting operations as a safeguard against the spread of the new coronavirus.

The Washington Redskins, Minnesota Vikings, Miami Dolphins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tennessee Titans, Pittsburgh Steelers and New York Jets are among those that have ordered their scouts and assistant coaches to return home in what typically is a busy time for evaluating college players. The NFL draft is scheduled for April 23-25 in Las Vegas.

Many teams have told employees to work remotely.

“Due to health and travel concerns surrounding COVID-19, we have informed all of our scouts and coaches that they must return to their home bases and travel will be suspended until further notice,” Redskins owner Daniel Snyder said in a statement Thursday. “The health and safety of our staff and players is our number one priority and we feel that these are the necessary precautions given the current circumstances.”

Soon after, the Vikings announced a similar decision.

“… We are also suspending travel for our coaches and scouts until further notice and reviewing restrictions on large public gatherings in the near future,” a team statement said. “These are uncertain times, and our priority is to protect the health and safety of our players, coaches, staff and fans and do our part to minimize the spread of this virus.”

The Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs have instructed all nonessential team personnel to work remotely for a minimum of 14 days beginning Monday. They also have suspended business travel and all nonessential travel for coaches and scouts.

The University of Michigan, Penn State, Vanderbilt and Texas A&M are among schools that called off or suspended pro days on Thursday. Other schools still plan to hold theirs — or make decisions pending developments.

NFL teams also are either limiting or eliminating facility visits by draft prospects. So are player agents.

“As an agent, it’s my strong recommendation that my players don’t travel for any team visits,” Mike McCartney tweeted. “With 12 or more games played, an All-Star game and Combine for most, teams have enough information to make an informed draft decision.”

NFL teams can bring in to their facilities for visits up to 30 players heading to the draft, though there are some exceptions for players from local schools.

The San Francisco 49ers are closing operations at Levi’s Stadium and at their training facility until further notice. Public and private team events have also been cancelled.

The Atlanta Falcons will close their training facility in Flowery Branch, Georgia, on Monday “for an intense cleaning throughout the entire facility. Staff will be working remotely,” the team said.

Also Thursday, Commissioner Roger Goodell said the league’s main annual meetings have been cancelled. They were scheduled for March 29-April 1 in Palm Beach, Florida, and were to include owners voting on potential rules changes.

Instead, those major decisions will be made at the May 19-20 spring meetings in Marina del Rey, California.

But the NFL’s business season will begin next Wednesday — as of now. That means the start of free agency and official trading. Of course, visits by free agents to team facilities figure to be limited if not nonexistent.

There’s also the matter of players’ union members voting on a new labour agreement that the owners approved last month. Some 2,500 members of the NFL Players Association face a deadline of 11:59 p.m. EDT on Saturday.

There has been little talk of postponing or cancelling the draft, though staging it in Las Vegas seems a long shot. The NFL says it is monitoring the situation. Holding the draft without fans as a televised event in a studio or conference hall could be an option.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

‘It’s awful’: Calgary homeless sleeping outdoors over fears of catching COVID-19

CALGARY — Gordon Kelter has something to fear more than not having… Continue reading

Who is at highest risk of exposure to COVID-19? Firefighters, drivers, pharmacists, cooks

Central Alberta firefighter says virus taking toll on mental health

RCMP facing ‘systemic sustainability challenges’ due to provincial policing role

Federal share is approaching $750 million annually, up from $618 million in 2012-13

LIVE: Procession to honour Snowbirds Capt. Jennifer Casey comes to Halifax

Snowbirds service member died in a crash in Kamloops one week ago

Alberta government website has latest COVID-19 statistics

Red Deer Advocate readers can stay up to date on the COVID-19… Continue reading

N.S. fire crews continue battling ‘out-of-control’ Porters Lake blaze

Word of the fire first emerged early Saturday afternoon

Technology, representation butt heads amid debate over resuming Parliament

The Liberals are now proposing four meetings a week until June 17

Procession for Snowbirds crash victim makes its way through Halifax

The 35-year-old military public affairs officer and Halifax native died in the crash

The latest numbers on COVID-19 in Canada as of May 23

There are 83,621 confirmed and presumptive cases in Canada

Procession for Snowbirds crash victim to make its way through Halifax today

The military public affairs officer died in the Snowbirds Tutor jet crash in B.C. last Sunday

Employers worry about safety, cash flow, second wave in COVID-19 restart

Only eight per cent of employers were fully prepared to restart operations, survey finds

Liberals table proposal for expanded Commons COVID-19 meetings, summer sittings

OTTAWA — The Liberals have tabled a proposal that would see expanded… Continue reading

Most Read