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 'Even the best game plan changes': Commissioner Roger Goodell emphasizes need for adaptability, flexibility as 2020 NFL season approaches


ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — As the Broncos and NFL teams around the country prepare to begin training camp, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell released a letter to fans on Monday that shared his optimism for the upcoming season.

"This is always the most optimistic time of year for our fans, and for all 32 teams," Goodell wrote. "In a year that has been extraordinarily difficult for our country and the world, we hope the energy of this moment will provide some much-needed optimism."

Goodell continued in the letter to share that this season will "not look like other years" because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"This process has not been easy -- COVID-19 will continue to present a major challenge to nearly every area of American life," Goodell said. "Football is no exception."

The Commissioner outlined a series of protocols agreed upon by the NFL and NFL Players Association to help mitigate the risk of the novel coronavirus in order for the NFL to play "a healthy and complete 2020 season." Those protocols include daily testing for at least several weeks and the cancellation of the 2020 preseason slate.

The Broncos were scheduled to face the 49ers and Bears at home and travel to face the Rams and Cardinals during the 2020 preseason. Joint practices were previously canceled because of the pandemic.

"Everyone in the team environment must follow rigorous health and safety protocols to keep themselves and each other safe," Goodell wrote. "When there is a positive test, strict regulations will be enforced to isolate and care for that individual and to contain the virus before it spreads. Even the sideline will look different. And, state and local health guidelines will help determine whether fans will attend the games. These adjustments are necessary to reduce the risk for everyone involved."

Goodell said the league has followed guidance from public and local health officials to help develop its protocol for the upcoming season. As the regular season approaches, Goodell expressed the need for adaptability and flexibility for the "foreseeable future."

"After all, even the best game plan changes as new challenges arise," Goodell wrote. "This year's NFL Draft is a good example that embracing change can still deliver the fun and excitement we all crave.

"While this year will forever be defined by a heartbreaking global pandemic and a transformative social justice movement, I am reminded of the tenacious, resilient spirit of our country, the NFL community, and you, the greatest fans in the world. Thank you for your continued support."

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