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NFL plans to test players for coronavirus ‘about three times a week’

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NFLPA medical director Thom Mayer shares league’s current plan

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell Super Bowl Press Conference Photo by Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images

According to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, NFLPA medical director Thom Mayer said the current plan is to test players for coronavirus about three times a week, isolating those who test positive. Mayer said there’s a 90% chance reliable saliva testing is available before players return to their team’s facilities. NFLPA executive DeMaurice Smith said the union expects to make headway on overall protocols going forward in the next 30 days or so.

This is on the heels of several Dallas Cowboys and Houston Texans testing positive on Monday for the coronavirus, including Ezekiel Elliot. He felt like there was a HIPAA violation by that information leaking. NFL players fall into an age bracket where death is a far less likely outcome from COVID-19 compared to other age groups; however, it is a disease that can have other impacts on the body that could affect a player’s ability to perform on the field. There have been plenty of reports saying you can be affected by lung scarring to blood clots. It’s hard to believe what is accurate and what isn’t. Some say the virus cannot last in the heat, but other countries with high temperatures haven’t seen their numbers go down.

The last thing we want is a player listed on the injury report or have to miss time due to the virus. With that said, it feels inevitable that players are going to catch the coronavirus. Time will tell if the NFL will put in the proper preventative measures. This all feels like it’s more of a matter of when not if.

2021 loss of revenue

The CBA includes a clause on good faith negotiations for cancellations (games) and how it would impact a loss of income/revenue. This includes how it would impact the salary cap in 2021. The NFLPA is preparing for a salary cap reduction in 2021, according to Smith, who said it’s safe to say a season without fans would have at least a $3 billion impact on revenue. This is a big factor for teams, like the San Francisco 49ers extending George Kittle when it comes to handing out significant contract extensions and new deals.