With the NFL and the NFL Players Association having reached an agreement on a Coronavirus deal, the doors are now open for players to their respective team facilities and start training camp. For the New England Patriots, this process will begin on Monday when quarterbacks and rookies will report for the first round of Covid-19 testing: they will arrive at Gillette Stadium, get tested, and then depart again while awaiting results.
With the Patriots cutting their roster to 80 over the weekend, the following 21 men remain to be tested today:
TE Devin Asiasi, TE/DE Rashod Berry, CB Myles Bryant, TE Jake Burt, DE Nick Coe, S Kyle Dugger, LB De’Jon Harris, OT Justin Herron, QB Brian Hoyer, LB Anfernee Jennings, TE Dalton Keene, LB Cassh Maluia, DT Bill Murray, QB Cam Newton, G Michael Onwenu, K Justin Rohrwasser, QB Jarrett Stidham, RB J.J. Taylor, WR Jeff Thomas, LB Josh Uche, C/G Dustin Woodard
The remainder of New England’s active roster, meanwhile, will arrive at Gillette Stadium on Tuesday for its own round of Covid-19 testing. All players, regardless of their status or position, will then have to undergo a second test later this week (possibly on Friday and Saturday). Only if both tests are negative will players be allowed to gain access to the Patriots’ facilities under the protocols implemented by the league to ensure a safe return.
If a test is positive, on the other hand, a distinction will be made between players showing Coronavirus symptoms or not:
- Positive test, no symptoms: If a test is positive but no symptoms have been developed, a return is prohibited until 10 days have passed since the first positive test or five days have passed since that first test if two consecutive tests separated by 24 hours turn out negative. Furthermore, club and NFL physicians will have to give the green light while local guidelines and requirements also need to be fulfilled.
- Positive test plus symptoms: If a test comes back positive and the tested individual has developed Coronavirus symptoms — most commonly fever, a dry cough and tiredness — he or she will not be allowed to return until at least 10 days have passed since those symptoms first appeared and at least 72 hours since they last did. A return furthermore will have to be approved by club and NFL physicians while local guidelines and requirements also need to be fulfilled.
After undergoing the two separate Coronavirus tests, all of the players who passed them will go through additional routine medical checks and either be allowed to start practicing for the first time since the playoffs or be placed on the physically unable to perform list (PUP). Afterwards, the first phase of training camp will be kicked off under the regulations agreed upon by the NFL and the NFLPA: the acclimatization period.
Between August 3rd and August 11th, the Patriots and the league’s other 31 teams will work on their conditioning both on the field and in the weight room for a maximum of 120 minutes per day. Only strength and conditioning coaches are allowed in at this point — similar to the first phase of usual offseason workouts taking place in spring. After August 11th, the so-called “Gradual Ramp-Up Period” will increase workloads before contact drills will return on August 17th.
For the time being, however, the focus is on passing the Covid-19 tests.