After the coronavirus pandemic upended offseason programs throughout the NFL, the league canceled 2020 preseason games, which altered the typical training camp schedule. Camp began on July 25 for the Houston Texans and Kansas City Chiefs and begins July 28 for the remaining 30 teams, complete with social distancing and masks.
The league and the NFL Players Association agreed to a schedule that creates time for conditioning and COVID-19 testing early in camp. Players and coaches will then proceed with camp in three phases -- an acclimation period that will take place around when the first preseason game would typically be played, followed by a gradual ramp-up period the following week and a contact-integration period that will encompass the final two weeks of August and into September.
The regular season is scheduled to start on Thursday, Sept. 10, when the Chiefs host the Texans.
Below is the 2020 NFL preseason calendar, according to a NFL Players Association document:
July 28-31: PCR testing and virtual meetings
Day 1: COVID testing
Day 2: COVID testing
Day 3: No testing
Day 4: COVID testing
Aug. 1-2: Physicals and equipment
Aug. 3-11: Acclimatization period
Sixty minutes in weight room and 60 minutes of on-field conditioning
Total strength and conditioning (small groups under 15), duration capped at 120 minutes
No conditioning tests during this period
Just strength and conditioning coaches (for strength and conditioning)
On-field strength and conditioning subject to Phase 1 rules (quarterbacks, receivers, kickers, punters and long-snappers permitted to use footballs)
In addition to strength and conditioning, walk-throughs permitted up to 60 minutes on each of the first four days and up to 75 minutes on each of final four days
Aug. 8 will be off day
Aug. 12-16: Gradual ramp-up period
Subject to maximum of 3.5 hours on-field daily time limits (Article 23, Section 7(b))
First practice starts at 90 minutes, with maximum 15 minutes daily increase (up to a daily maximum of 120 minutes)
Remainder of daily 3.5-hour on-field time limit applied to walk-through
Aug. 12 and 13 will be Phase 2 activities; helmets and approved protective shirts permitted
Aug. 14 and Aug. 16: Non-Padded practice days (Article 23, Section 7(b)(i)) (e.g., no live contact, all customary practice activities); helmets, spiders and shells permitted
Aug. 15: Off day
Aug. 17-Sept. 6: Contact integration period
Padded practices subject to Article 23, Section 7(c) rules
Duration starts at 90 minutes with 15-minute daily increases (as recommended by JTF)
No increase or decrease in duration following an off day.
Daily time limits dictated by CBA (Article 23, Section 7(c) Conduct of Practices)
Maximum of 14 padded practices during the contact integration period
Following the first mandatory day off on Aug. 8, all players must receive one day off every seven days.
Clubs that play on Monday night of Week 1 must receive seven total days off.
Clubs that play on Sunday and Thursday of Week 1 must receive six total days off.
Rookies have two additional off days in Phase 2, two additional days in non-padded and one additional off day. Rookies cannot progress to contact integration until Aug. 17.
Sept. 7: Regular-season practice week
Players who are directed to report early (before the mandatory reporting date for all other veteran players) will progress to the gradual ramp-up period immediately following their completion of their respective eight-day acclimatization period. However, no player shall begin padded practices before Aug. 17 (except that Kansas City and Houston may begin padded practices on Aug. 14).