NFL, players’ union reach agreement on COVID-19 testing

The NFL and the players’ union reached an agreement on COVID-19 testing Monday, resolving an essential disagreement as teams prepare to open training camps.

The players wanted daily testing, whereas team owners were in favor of testing players every other day.

The compromise is that players will be tested every day for the first two weeks of camp. Then, if the positive rates fall below 5% for Tier 1 and 2 individuals — which encompasses players, coaches, trainers and other team employees — the testing will take place every other day.

“These protocols are very much living, breathing documents, which means that they will change,” said Dr. Allen Sills, the NFL’s chief medical officer. “As we gain new knowledge about the virus, as we gain knowledge about the transmission … we very much anticipate the protocols will change.”

It won’t be as simple as players being allowed to report to team headquarters and begin practicing if they test negative for the virus. They will need negative tests on consecutive days to clear that hurdle.

“That’s one of the lessons we’ve taken away from other professional sports leagues and colleges,” Sills said. “We want to have more than one test.

“We recognize that as players, coaches, and staff come in, they’re going to be coming in from all over the country and world. We want to take a slow approach here. It’s the paradigm of walk, then jog, then run.”

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