Nfl, play­ers agree on rules, fi­nances

Chicago Sun-Times - - OUTDOORS -

The NFL and play­ers’ union reached an agree­ment Fri­day to set pro­to­cols — and financial ram­i­fi­ca­tions — of the most un­usual sea­son in league his­tory. Do­ing so en­sures that train­ing camp will start on time, with veter­ans re­port­ing Tues­day for a pre­sea­son that will look un­like any other.

The NFL Play­ers As­so­ci­a­tion Ex­ec­u­tive Com­mit­tee voted unan­i­mously to rec­om­mend coro­n­avirus-driven col­lec­tive-bar­gain­ing agree­ment changes to its 32 team rep­re­sen­ta­tives. The NFLPA’s team reps then voted 29-3 in fa­vor.

Gone are pre­sea­son games, re­placed by a strength and con­di­tion­ing pro­gram at the start of train­ing camp that would pre­vent full prac­tices for about three weeks, af­ter play­ers are given the op­tion to opt out by Aug. 3. The salary cap will re­main at $198.2 mil­lion and can’t be any lower than $175 mil­lion next sea­son. Rosters will de­crease to 80 play­ers by the mid­dle of Au­gust, while prac­tice squads will in­crease to 16.

In a state­ment, com­mis­sioner Roger Good­ell said the health and safety mea­sures — play­ers will be tested daily for the first two weeks, and ev­ery other day if the pos­i­tiv­ity rate gets below a cer­tain thresh­old — was guided by med­i­cal direc­tors and en­dorsed by ex­perts, in­clud­ing the Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol.

♦ The Bears did the in­evitable, can­cel­ing sea­son-ticket pack­ages for the 2020 sea­son. If the team is able to host fans in a so­cially dis­tanced set­ting, sea­son-ticket hold­ers will be al­lowed, ex­clu­sively, to buy single-game tick­ets. Those with per­sonal seat li­censes would be given first choice.

In a let­ter sent to sea­son-ticket hold­ers, pres­i­dent/CEO Ted Phillips said the Bears will work with of­fi­cials to form plans to wel­come fans to Sol­dier Field, but it’s yet to be de­ter­mined whether they’ll be al­lowed in — and, if so, how many. If fans at­tend games, it likely will be at 20% or 25% of ca­pac­ity.

Fam­ily Fest, the Bears’ an­nual ex­hi­bi­tion at Sol­dier Field, and Varsity Bears, a prac­tice at a local high school, were can­celed. Patrick Fin­ley

♦ Chiefs of­fen­sive line­man Lau­rent Duver­nay-Tardif an­nounced that he will opt out of the 2020 sea­son be­cause of con­cerns about COVID-19, be­com­ing the first known NFL player to do so. He is the only med­i­cal school grad­u­ate in the NFL and has been on the front lines of the virus re­sponse.

♦ The Vik­ings signed coach Mike Zim­mer, 64, to a three-year con­tract ex­ten­sion through the 2023 sea­son.

COL­LEGES msu foot­ball team to iso­late 14 days

A cou­ple hours af­ter Michi­gan State Spar­tans of­fen­sive line­man Jor­dan Reid went on Twit­ter to ask why the 2020 col­lege foot­ball sea­son was be­ing played, the school an­nounced that all mem­bers of the foot­ball team will quar­an­tine, or iso­late, for 14 days.

MSU ini­tially stopped foot­ball work­outs Wed­nes­day af­ter a mem­ber of the staff tested pos­i­tive for COVID-19 fol­low­ing a round of test­ing last week­end. Dur­ing ad­di­tional sur­veil­lance test­ing, a sec­ond staff mem­ber and one stu­dent-ath­lete tested pos­i­tive.

♦ Heed­ing pleas for pa­tience from col­lege sports lead­ers, the NCAA Board of Gov­er­nors held off on mak­ing any de­ci­sions about whether to hold cham­pi­onship events in fall sports dur­ing the coro­n­avirus pan­demic.

“To­day the Board of Gov­er­nors and I agreed that we must con­tinue to thought­fully and ag­gres­sively mon­i­tor health con­di­tions around the coun­try and the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the COVID-19 guide­lines we is­sued last week,” NCAA Pres­i­dent Mark Em­mert said.

GOLF Thomp­son, Weren­ski share 3M lead

Michael Thomp­son and Richy Weren­ski topped the 3M Open leader­board in Blaine, Min­nesota, go­ing into the week­end, Tony Finau and Talor Gooch climbed within a stroke and stars Brooks Koepka and Tommy Fleet­wood missed the cut.

In warmer and windier con­di­tions on the quiet, spec­ta­tor-free TPC Twin Cities course, the scores crept up af­ter Weren­ski led the first-round pack with an 8-un­der 63 and fol­lowed up with a 67. Thomp­son caught him with a 66.


NFLPA ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor DeMau­rice Smith (left) and NFL com­mis­sioner Roger Good­ell helped fi­nal­ize an agree­ment to en­sure that train­ing camp starts on time.

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