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As NFL plans for 2020 season amid COVID-19 epidemic, safety priority No. 1 for Kareem Jackson, Drew Lock

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — What NFL games will look like this fall has yet to be decided.

As the NFL continues to prepare for the upcoming 2020 season, the league has yet to outline how the COVID-19 pandemic could impact the rest of the offseason program and the fall slate of games.

There's been speculation as to whether fans would be allowed to attend or whether they could with some restriction. Some experts, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, have said that sporting events might have to be closed off to fans.

But ultimately, with the league still four months away from the regular season and the novel coronavirus outbreak still evolving with each passing day, nothing about the shape of NFL games seems certain.

What is sure, though, is that safety must be the top priority whenever the NFL does return.

"I just think for us, it doesn't make sense to play any games unless it's completely 100 percent safe to go out there," safety Kareem Jackson said Tuesday. "If there's any threat of us being able to contract COVID in any way and spread it, obviously to our families or to anybody else that we're around, it just doesn't make sense."

However, Jackson was clear that if future games didn't involve fans, he'd be disappointed to play in quiet stadiums.


"I think I heard something about us playing and no fans and all that," Jackson said. "That would be like practice, so in my opinion, that would suck. But just talking with some of the guys, it just doesn't make sense to go play any games unless it's 100-percent safe for us to go out there."

Quarterback Drew Lock shared a similar sentiment, adding that he'll leave the decision to public health experts and doctors.

"Whenever they decide it's OK for us to play," Lock said, "then I'm ready to play."

In the meantime, Lock, Jackson and the rest of their teammates have been training at home and taking part in the virtual offseason program, which includes attending videoconference meetings for their coaches and teammates.

As the country prepares to take steps forward and remove stay-at-home orders in various states, players could in time reconvene with one another separate from team workouts. Before the epidemic, Lock had planned on hosting throwing sessions with the Broncos' wide receivers. That was put on hold, of course. On Tuesday, though, he said that he's still hoping to hold the workouts at some point.

"When it is socially acceptable to do that and have the best interest as far as health goes," Lock said of when he might plan those sessions. "I'm going to keep that in mind first, but then once that is ready, we're going to have all those guys out there. … Whenever the professionals say it's OK, whether that's the NFL or that's the actual CDC, whichever one, we're going to have them ready and we're going to get out there and start throwing and getting this chemistry down and get things rolling."

After weeks of sheltering in place amid the COVID-19 outbreak, we wondered what some of our players might looks like if they tried to give themselves a haircut or let it all grow out. Our top photoshoppers came up with these visualizations.

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