While the Coronavirus pandemic could still change the picture and force teams to adjust their respective schedules, reporting dates for this year’s training camp have been set: according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, who is quoting a stipulation from the new NFL-NFLPA collective bargaining agreement, the New England Patriots are among 30 teams who will report to camp on Tuesday, July 28.
The other two teams, the Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Texans, who play in the regular season opener, will report to camp three days earlier.
While teams were previously required to report to their camps 15 days before their preseason openers, the new CBA is trying to make reporting more uniform across the league. That said, the exact details and scheduling of this process are not known at this point in time: Will rookies and players coming off injury still report three days earlier? Will the first practice of camp still take place one day after the reporting date?
If so, the Patriots’ schedule for the 2020 training camp would look as follows:
- Saturday, July 25: Report date rookies/injured veterans
- Tuesday, July 28: Report date healthy veterans
- Wednesday, July 29: First practice
Upon reporting for camp, all of the players will go through medical checks and either be placed on the physically unable to perform list (PUP) or hit the practice fields if cleared. The date for practice number one could very well be moved back one day to July 30, however, to accommodate the Patriots’ previous practice schedule.
Speaking of which, the new CBA has also modified practice rules. Whereas teams had their first full-padded session on Day Four, they will now have a slower start: teams will practice comparatively lightly for the first three days, wear shorts and shells for the next two, and have Day Six off. On Day Seven, meanwhile, the first full-pad session including player contact will take place — presumably on August 4 or 5 this year, if the schedule holds up.
As noted above, of course, the Coronavirus pandemic could cause a change to the planned procedures after already forcing teams to forgo on-field workouts during the offseason.
As for the Patriots, they are planning to only return their players for training camp after effectively wrapping up their offseason work last week. While free agency additions and the team’s rookie class are expected to continue participating in virtual meetings, full-team offseason work will not resume until camp — meaning that both mandatory minicamp and other potential on-field activities have been canceled.