There could be no exhibition NFL season at all this season.
Per reports, the NFL proposed on Monday night to eliminate the entire four-game preseason schedule this summer, allowing players and coaching staffs the opportunity to focus solely on staying healthy and safe from the beginning of training camp to the proposed start of the regular season in early-September.
It’s the latest instance in which the NFL has whittled away its exhibition slate. The first half of the preseason schedule, two games, was already wiped away before reports emerged on Monday morning that the league proposed just a single game of exhibition action.
This is also the NFL’s first real step at providing the players with some form of clarity pertaining to health and safety protocols amid an uncertain buildup to training camp this week.
Despite the coronavirus pandemic’s outbreak coming in the thick of the NFL’s offseason, the league has yet to disclose a bona fide health-and-safety plan for its players. It prompted many star players to take to social media on Sunday to voice their displeasure with the league as they faced the reality of leaving their homes and families for team facilities this week.
The Houston Texans and Kansas City Chiefs began training camp on Monday while rookies around the league reported to facilities on Tuesday. Quarterbacks can report on Thursday before full teams can arrive on July 28.
Such a decision to cancel all preseason games would likely have a split reaction through the league.
Veterans with secure roster spots will likely cherish an offseason without the extra wear-and-tear on their bodies — even if it’s in temporary spurts as it is in preseason games.
For fringe roster players, late-round draft picks and undrafted players, the preseason is their only opportunity to carve out a roster spot on an NFL team.