League expects coaches to return to team facilities soon

FILE PHOTO: NFL Football - Seattle Seahawks v Oakland Raiders - NFL International Series - Wembley Stadium, London, Britain - October 14, 2018 Oakland Raiders' Marshawn Lynch in action with Seattle Seahawks' Barkevious Mingo Action Images via Reuters/Paul Childs

NEW YORK (Reuters) – NFL teams may be able to bring back members of their coaching staff as early as next week, Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a memo distributed to teams on Thursday.

All 32 clubs closed in March amid the coronavirus outbreak that forced coaches, players and personnel into lockdown, with some teams welcoming back non-player staff for the first time last week.

The National Football League said it will confirm the date coaches can return as soon as possible and that it is working with authorities in states “that have not yet announced definitive plans,” as it continues the gradual process of reopening.

“We expect that next week clubs will be permitted to include members of their coaching staffs among the employees permitted to resume work in the club facility,” Goodell said in the memo.

“We are also continuing to work with the (NFL Players Association) on developing protocols that will allow at least some players to return to your facilities on a limited basis prior to the conclusion of the off-season program.”

The NFL will extend its virtual off-season by two weeks, allowing for the continuation of streamed workouts and instruction, a month after the league held a “virtual” draft for the first time, with players and personnel behind closed doors.

On a call with reporters on Thursday, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said the league and teams were preparing for the start of the season, with the September 10 kickoff within sight.

“We will continue to prepare and to adjust where necessary,” said Goodell. “This off-season looked a lot different than it has in the past.”

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