The Coronavirus was officially classified as a pandemic by the World Health Organization on Wednesday, and sports leagues around the world are adapting to the fast-spreading virus — from the NBA suspending the 2020 season, to soccer games in Europe being either postponed or played in front of empty stands, to thousands of other events all over the globe getting cancelled or at least adapted to fit national emergency requirements.
And even though the National Football League is in the middle of its offseason, it also is starting to feel the impact of the Coronavirus. On Wednesday, Yahoo Sports’ Charles Robinson and Eric Edholm reported that at least two pro football teams — the Philadelphia Eagles and the Pittsburgh Steelers — have decided to pull “their coaches off the road for the pro-day circuit, at least temporarily, as a precautionary measure.”
The NFL, of course, is currently in a period of heavy travel: college player pro days are taking place all over the country, with scouts and other team personnel flying from one college to another to work out draft prospects. As a result, it appears that the Eagles and Steelers will not remain the only teams to at least partially modify their schedules in order to limit potential exposure to the virus or helping it spread throughout the country.
According to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, Pittsburgh altered its plans so that its scouts not longer are forced to take commercial flights between assignments. Possibly using private jets or driving within a shorter radius have been discussed as alternatives. The Kansas City Chiefs have furthermore also decided to leave some of its personnel stay off the road, with the New Orleans Saints having discussions about similar moves being made.
Most of the NFL’s teams are still conducting its business in a more or less normal manner, though, at least for the moment. Two big events coming up — the league meetings in Palm Beach and the draft in Las Vegas — are also both currently still scheduled to take place as planned. Given how quickly the Coronavirus is spreading across the United States and other nations, however, those plans may have to be changed at one point.
The New England Patriots, meanwhile, have not announced any changes to their travel schedule or pro day plans yet. That being said, as is the case with the league events that will take place in March and April, the team might be forced to act and adapt quickly.
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