Nov 28, 2020 - Health

NFL bans in-person team activities Monday, Tuesday due to COVID-19 surge

Houston Texans center Nick Martin (66) signals at the line of scrimmage during the first half of an NFL football game between the Detroit Lions and the Houston Texans i
Houston Texans play the Detroit Lions in Detroit on Thanksgiving Day. Photo: Amy Lemus/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The NFL said it will prohibit all in-person team activities on Monday and Tuesday to help curb the spread of the coronavirus among teams.

Driving the news: The move comes "in response to the continuous increase in positivity rates throughout the country” and because “a number of players and staff celebrated the Thanksgiving holiday with out-of-town guests," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a memo late on Friday, per the NFL Network's Tom Pelissero.

  • The ban will not apply to the teams that are playing on Monday or Tuesday.
  • The league has been forced to postpone a Baltimore Ravens-Pittsburgh Steelers matchup originally scheduled for primetime on Thanksgiving day twice due to a COVID-19 outbreak.

What they're saying: “As we look forward to playing the remainder of the Week 12 schedule, we know that our protocols are designed to prevent the spread of the virus when an individual tests positive,” Goodell wrote.

  • “Limiting interactions with a potentially COVID-positive teammate or colleague will assist in preventing contagion within the club," he added.
  • "All activities must be conducted virtually, with the exception of essential medical treatment and rehabilitation under the supervision of a team physician or athletic trainer."
  • "Further, players and staff should be reminded that gatherings of any sort outside the facility are prohibited."

The bottom line: "Most teams don’t practice Mondays or Tuesdays, so players aren’t in the building as much anyway. Everyone is still tested every day. Based on the incubation period, keeping facilities closed those days could catch many new infections from the holiday," Pelissero noted on Twitter.

Go deeper