The NFL’s training camp period unofficially began this week with the reporting of rookies, quarterbacks, and injured players. The Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Texans are a few days ahead of the rest of the league, allowing them to get into camp early enough to be ready for their season kickoff game on September 10. The rest of the league will officially begin camp on July 28, though camp this year will be much different than it has been in previous season.
Camp will start with COVID-19 coronavirus testing, a testing that will take place at the team facilities but not inside the building. The Miami Dolphins, for instance, have set up trailers in the parking lot of the team’s Davie, Florida facilities to handle the testing. The rest of the training camp schedule was still to be determined, with the NFL and NFL Players Association negotiating through the week, coming to an agreement on Friday. NFL Network’s Tom Pelisseo released a memorandum sent to all players outlining the schedule for camp this year, giving the players - and the fans - expectations for how the summer will work.
With no preseason games on the schedule, teams will use the next seven weeks to get players into football shape. That will start with testing on days one, two, and four of camp, covering July 28 through 31st. During those days, teams can hold virtual team meetings, but players cannot enter the team facilities.
August 1 and 2 will feature physicals and equipment sizing and issuing.
August 3 through 11 will be the “acclimatization period,” with workouts capped at 60 minutes in the weight room and 60 minutes on-field conditioning work, allowing for a total of 120 minutes of strength and conditioning, but with only 15 players in a group at a time. Conditioning tests are not allowed during the period, and only strength and conditioning coaches may work with the players. A daily walk-through will be allowed, limited to 60 minutes for the first four days of the period, then 75 minutes for the final four days. There will be one off day during the period (August 8).
The August 12-16 period will be the “gradual ramp-up period,” with players limited to a maximum of 3.5 hours on the field each day. The first practice will be a 90-minute session, then 15 minutes will be added each day, up to 120 minutes. The remaining time for each 3.5 hour limit will be conducted during a walk-through. Players can wear helmets and approved protective shirts on August 12 and 13, then helmets and shells in non-contact work on August 14 and 16. August 15th will be an off day.
Rookies, who reported early, will be allowed two additional acclimatization period days, two additional non-padded practices, and one additional off day through August 16.
Veterans and rookies will moves into the “contact integration period” on August 17, running through September 6. Padded practices area allowed to begin, and the CBA’s limits on contact work still apply. During this period, padded practices will begin at 90 minutes, with 15 minute increases each day, though no increase or decrease will follow an off day. Teams can have a maximum of 14 padded practices in the 21 days of the period.
August 8 will be a mandatory day off for all players. After that, all players will receive one off-day every seven days, with a mandatory six off-days (the Pittsburgh Steelers, New York Giants, Tennessee Titans, and Denver Broncos will all receive a seventh off-day as the Week 1 Monday Night Football teams).
September 7 begins regular season practices, according to the Collective Bargaining Agreement.