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NFL cuts preseason schedule in half as coronavirus continues to surge: report
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NFL cuts preseason schedule in half as coronavirus continues to surge: report

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A detailed view of the NFL logo on the field during a game between Carolina Panthers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London on October 13, 2019.

A detailed view of the NFL logo on the field during a game between Carolina Panthers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London on October 13, 2019. (Naomi Baker/Getty Images/TNS)

The NFL will be reducing its preseason by two games according to ProFootballTalk, cutting out the first and last week due to the surge of coronavirus cases throughout the country.

This comes after two other events were already canceled last week: The 2020 Hall of Fame Game and Hall of Fame induction ceremony were called off because it's simply not safe to have a gathering of that size right now. So far, training camps are still projected to start at the end of July. But even that may change soon with the preseason starting later than it normally would.

The NFL and NFLPA are still discussing protocols for safely bring players into team facilities and what happens when a player gets sick with the virus. Kevin Seifert of ESPN reported that there isn't a specific deadline to finish the negotiations, but they would like to be done by the end of next week. Seifert also reported that teams may make players and coaches quarantine for two weeks prior to arriving for camp.

Demaurice Smith, the Executive Director of the NFLPA, has voiced his frustrations with players working out together. In an interview with USA Today last week, Smith said that he wanted players to stop working out together until the NFL and NFLPA come to an agreement on coronavirus guidelines. However, there will be consequences that stem from an offseason that features little in-person contact.

Reducing the preseason games to two games is obviously safer than four games, but it's going to hurt the players who aren't locks to make the final rosters. There have been no in-person football activities this offseason for these players to shine and now there are two fewer preseason opportunities for them. Unfortunately, there won't be many opportunities for fringe players to make their team's regular-season roster - if there is a season, that is.

It's a legitimate question to ponder right now.

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It's fascinating, and a bit frightening, to monitor football during the pandemic. Every week, we keep count of how many college games have been postponed/canceled, and that number lately has reached double figures. By way of contrast, the NFL hasn't yet canceled a game. Indeed, we've just seen the lengths to which the NFL will go not to scratch anything.

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