At this point, the only people really thinking about the NFL are those of us who cover it. I’ve seen more than a few fans say it’s hard to get excited about the league right now, which is a combination of the protests happening across the country, the still-going COVID-19 pandemic, and the fact that it’s hard to care about football all that much in June to begin with.
All that duly noted, we’ll keep plugging away and you can always come back to news later. As you might expect, given that the NFL is wrapping up delivering one of the most limp statements imaginable in reaction to George Floyd’s death and the subsequent nationwide protests, they now have plenty of time to focus on what’s ahead: Training camp.
If all goes well, we’ll still get training camp, but for some teams it will be quite a different experience. Those teams who typically hit the road for training camp won’t be able to do so—the Falcons stick to Flowery Branch aside from Friday Night Lights and thus will be minimally impacted—and no one’s getting joint practices this year.
The league has gotten word to teams that were planning to go away to camp that they won't be able to, sources confirm. League hasn't yet issued a memo to all teams on the edict, but that should be coming shortly.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) June 2, 2020
Very different summer coming in the NFL.
Last year at least 10 NFL teams held training camp at least 10 miles away from their training facilities: Buffalo, Carolina, Chicago, Dallas, Indianapolis, Kansas City, the LA Rams,— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) June 2, 2020
Oakland, Pittsburgh, Washington. This year all will be required to hold camp at their facilities.
That last part is a bit of a bummer for the Falcons, who had been mulling inviting an AFC East team to town. We’re still a ways away from finding out if everything is going to go to plan here, but while it’s mildly disappointing to know we won’t get to see, say, Grady Jarrett bringing down Josh Allen on the Flowery Branch practice field, Atlanta’s not going to be scrambling to make significant changes to training camp.
Friday Night Lights, though? The team has had a fun tradition of holding scrimmages at local high schools in recent years, but that’s almost certainly not going to happen this time around. The whole point of those scrimmages is that they get to have fans there, and it’s simply not going to be likely that everyone’s prepared to do that in early August.
So mild bummers abound, but we’re still very cautiously optimistic that the Falcons will kick off training camp in July. Something has to go right.