NFL slashes preseason schedule in half amid coronavirus case uptick

The NFL will chop its preseason slate in half this year in response to the unique circumstances of the coronavirus pandemic, which has already kept training programs remote this summer.

Pro Football Talk was the first outlet to report the news. The league is expected to make the official announcement Thursday.

By limiting preseason action — a step players have advocated for beyond the COVID-19 outbreak in order to prevent injury — the NFL hopes to prevent travel-related virus spread and allow players to get in shape at a more natural pace. COVID-19 cases in the U.S. have shot up over the past two weeks, rising to a recent daily average of more than 40,000 new diagnoses nationwide.

It’s been a strange couple of months for NFL franchises following the draft in April. Usually able to ease rookies and newcomers into their cultures during training camp, they’ve instead relied on technology to provide virtual team-building neccesities.

The first preseason game of 2020 is scheduled for Aug. 20.

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