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NFL Expands COVID-19 Protocols; Threatens Draft Pick Loss, Forfeits for Violations

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The first player on the Tennessee Titans to test positive for COVID-19 over a week ago was a recently signed member of the practice squad, and while it has not been confirmed that’s how the outbreak that ended up postponing the Steelers’ game with the Titans in Week 4, the NFL has changed its protocols to make sure something like that can’t happen in the future.

In a memo to teams sent out on Monday, commissioner Roger Goodell announced that in conjunction with the NFLPA, the league has modified its protocol with regards to bringing new players onto teams in the middle of the season.

Currently, free agent tryouts must go through 48 hours of quarantining and testing before working out at the team’s facility. Goodell’s memo said that time period will be increased, but did not specify exactly how long the new time period will be.

Goodell also said there will be a limitation on the total number of tryouts a team can hold in a particular week.

Additionally, gatherings outside the team facility will not be permitted and the league will implement video monitoring to ensure that the personal protective equipment mandate is being following inside team facilities.

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The league has already fined coaches and players for non-compliance with the PPE policy.

Goodell said that protocol violations that result in the spread of the virus that require adjustments to the schedule or impact other teams will result in “additional financial and competitive discipline, including the adjustment or loss of draft choices or even the forfeit of a game.”

“Simply put, compliance is mandatory,” the memo closed. “Now is the time to recommit ourselves to our protocols and best practices for the duration of the season.”

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