On Wednesday, the New England Patriots announced that they currently plan to hold their first real training camp practice on August 12. At least from one perspective, they are good to go: the NFL Players Association has finally approved the Infectious Disease Emergency Response plan (IDER) that was submitted by the club earlier this month. All clubs have therefore now received the green light to move forward.
The plan itself outlines New England’s emergency procedures in case a player or other person inside the building tests positive for the Coronavirus. Approval of the document now means that the Patriots can have more than 20 players at their Gillette Stadium facilities at the same time, per the NFLPA’s regulations.
The Patriots were among the final seven teams to enter the week with their plan still under review. The Atlanta Falcons, Los Angeles Chargers, New Orleans Saints, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks and Washington were also waiting for approval until Wednesday.
“I am very proud of the innovation and attention to detail that our club medical staffs have shown as they have created these plans, which were reviewed and approved by the league, the NFLPA and our infectious disease experts,” the league’s chief medical officer, Dr. Allen Sills, told NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. “Our teams have looked at all aspects of their operations through the lens of risk mitigation, and have made significant changes all around which will enhance the safety of the environment for all players, coaches and staff.”
With their IDER plan approved, the Patriots have cleared another hurdle on their way to training camp in a week that saw some big additional developments. Not only did the team’s players undergo the first round of Covid-19 testing — they need three negative tests before being allowed to take their physicals this weekend — New England also saw six exercise the opt-out clause for the 2020 season.
Still, the team is now another step closer to what projects to be a unique training camp.