As the regular season inches closer, NFL coaching staffs may be able to return to their respective team facilities as early as next week, according to a memo sent to teams on Thursday by Commissioner Roger Goodell and communicated to media members during a national conference call.
The NFL previously allowed team facilities to open for a limited number of employees in cities and states where regulations allowed. No facilities were allowed to welcome back more than 75 people or 50 percent of the team's staff, whichever was less. All employees have been required to follow social distancing practices, undergo temperature scans upon arrival and wear protective masks while at the facilities.
Both UCHealth Training Center and Empower Field at Mile High opened to a limited number of employees on May 26.
No coaches, though, have been allowed to enter any team facilities. Players are only allowed to enter if they are currently rehabbing an injury.
The regulations for coaches, though, could soon change. Goodell indicated that the NFL is working with state and local officials to determine potential return dates in states that have not yet allowed businesses to reopen. The NFL has stressed its desire to ensure competitive balance across the league.
If and when coaches return, the 50-percent/75-person rule would still be in effect.
In addition to a potential return for coaches, the NFL also announced clubs' abilities to reopen ticket offices, retail shops and other customer-facing operations beginning on June 1. This new development would also have to comply with the 50-percent/75-person rule.
Goodell also informed teams that their virtual voluntary offseason programs could continue for an additional two weeks, which would extend the programs until the end of June.
He said in the memo that the league is working with the NFL Players Association to determine protocols for at least some players to return to team facilities on a limited basis before the end of the offseason program.