The National Football League is returning to normalcy after two years of dealing with COVID-19 protocols.
On Thursday, the NFL sent a memo to all 32 NFL teams informing them that effective immediately, all COVID-19 protocols will be suspended following an agreement between the National Football Players Association (NFLPA) and the league.
“Based on current encouraging trends regarding the prevalence and severity of COVID-19, the evolving guidance from the CDC, changes to state law and the counsel of our respective experts, the NFL and NFLPA have agreed to suspend all aspects of the joint COVID-19 Protocols,” the league memo said. “We will continue to prioritize the health and safety of players, coaches and staff, as we have throughout the pandemic.”
Teams are still required to adhere to local state and city requirements, but are no longer required by the NFL to wear masks while at the team facility, regardless of vaccination status.
“Consistent with recent CDC guidance and subject to any state and local requirements and guidelines concerning the use of masks in club facilities (regardless of vaccination status),” the memo continued. “Clubs are free to require individuals to wear masks in the club facility if they elect to do so.”
Mandatory testing has also been nixed, though any player experiencing COVID-19 symptoms must report them to their team and will require a negative test in order to enter the facility.
Here’s the memo that just went to clubs on the NFL and NFLPA suspending all COVID-19 protocols. No more masks, tracking devices, mandatory surveillance testing or capacity limits, unless required by state and local law. pic.twitter.com/TIdvfCWr9m
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) March 3, 2022
Just last month, the NFL faced backlash regarding their COVID-19 restrictions at the NFL Combine. NFL agents representing 150 NFL prospects threatened a boycott of the combine following news that draft prospects would be in a COVID-19 “bubble,” restricting prospects to secure areas inside the combine.
“Agents representing more than 150 draft prospects are organizing a boycott of all testing, on-field workouts and interviews at next month’s NFL scouting combine if heavy ‘bubble’ restrictions aren’t changed, sources tell me and [Tom Pelissero],” Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported on Twitter.
The National Invitational Combine (NIC) quickly amended their “bubble” restrictions at the combine, informing players in a memo that they would be allowed to leave the facilities as they please.
“As has been the case throughout the pandemic, we continue to evolve our combine policies and procedures in consultation with medical experts,” the memo said. “While masks continue to be required for air travel and during medical exams at the combine (players and medical personnel), wearing a mask at other times while on site is recommended, but not required.”
“We encourage all players to remain within the secure combine areas at all times for your safety,” the memo continued. “However, if you would like to leave the secure areas during free time in your schedule, you are now permitted to do so at your own risk.”
Per the NFL’s memo, players would have been “restricted to secure Combine venues” while in Indianapolis, the location of the 2022 NFL Combine. Players who violated the policy would have been sent home.
While no football activities are occurring at team facilities following the end of the NFL season in February, many staff members are attending this week’s NFL combine.
Joe Morgan is the Sports Reporter for The Daily Wire. Most recently, Morgan covered the Clippers, Lakers, and the NBA for Sporting News. Send your sports questions to email@example.com.