NFLPA tells players to stop working out together

Sam McDowell The Kansas City Star (TNS)
Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid talks to media after defeating the San Francisco 49ers, 31-20, in Super Bowl LIV at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida, on February 2, 2020.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — As coronavirus cases spread throughout sports organizations, the NFL Players Association sent its players a strong advisement Saturday:

Stop working out together.

In a statement authored by Dr. Thom Mayer, the association says "no players should be engaged in practicing together in private workouts."

"Please be advised that it is our consensus medical opinion that in light of the increase of COVID-19 cases in certain states that no players should be engaged in practicing together in private workouts," Mayer's statement read. "Our goal is to have all players and your families as healthy as possible in the coming months.

"We are working on the best mitigation procedures at team facilities for both training camps and the upcoming season, and believe that it is in the best interest of all players that we advise against any voluntary joint practices before camp commences."

The league's players have seen an increase in coronavirus cases over the past few days, as have sports organizations across multiple leagues.

Earlier Saturday, two Buccaneers players tested positive for COVID-19, per an ESPN report. On Friday, NFL Network reported that a 49ers player also tested positive, and he had been working out with teammates in Nashville. Those teammates, which included the team's quarterbacks and skill position players, are awaiting the results of their own tests.

Multiple Texans and Cowboys players have also tested positive for coronavirus, including running back Ezekiel Elliott. Broncos safety Kareem Jackson announced on social media on Thursday that he has coronavirus after "experiencing mild symptoms."

The Chiefs completed their offseason workout program on Thursday — which had been moved to a virtual platform — and will next meet for training camp in late July. The NFL has released its 2020 schedule, and it remains unaltered, pending the state of affairs with the pandemic.

The NFL has allowed coaches to return to training facilities, but the only players permitted inside the training facilities have been those rehabbing from injury.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious diseases, had expressed doubt that football can be played this fall. The NFL's medical officer, Dr. Allen Sills, responded, "We will be flexible and adaptable in this environment to adjust to the virus as needed."

"Social distancing, all those things, are important until we know more," Chiefs coach Andy Reid said in a call last week. "We know that right now works, so let's focus on that. Until we know something else, we'll do something else. But this is new, so let science help us along with this thing and hopefully time takes care of it. Which it normally does with these things."