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NFL’s latest proposal ignores training camp recommendations from doctors

© Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

We are technically a week from the start of training camp, though that’s not exactly accurate. As the NFL and NFL Players Association continue to hash out a framework for the how training camp will work, it’s clear camp won’t start on time nor resemble a “normal” training camp.

The earliest camp can begin, for most teams like the 49ers is August 1. July 28 will be used for testing of the entire team and staff, followed by two days of players isolating and testing again on July 31. Then, if results come back negative again and on-time, players can report for in-person camp on August 1 at the earliest.

NFLPA president JC Tretter said on a Pro Football Writers Association conference call last Thursday, that the Joint Committee of doctors formed by the NFL and NFLPA made the following recommendations for players in the lead-up to the season:

  • Begin with 21 days of strength and conditioning
  • Followed by 10 days of non-contact football
  • Followed by 14 days of padded, contact practice

That schedule would not allow for an on-time start of the season. If that was followed, the teams starting on August 1 would finish camp on September 15. The first scheduled Sunday of the season is September 13, when the 49ers face the Arizona Cardinals.

So, as usual, the league, instead of planning for this and following these recommendations, is trying to bend the training camp schedule for an on-time season start, and August 1 won’t actually be the start date. It would be August 3 or 4, after testing and physicals are done, followed by about a week of strength and conditioning. After an off day, there would be a five-day non-contact ramp up to padded practice, then an off day, then padded practice.

That differs substantially from the Joint Committee’s recommendations, dropping strength and conditioning time from 21 days to six or seven days, and non-padded ramp up time from 10 days to five.


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