NFL teams will be permitted to resume hosting off-site training camps in 2021 after a one-year pause due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the league informed clubs in a memo Friday.
The majority of training camps are expected to remain at team facilities and/or stadiums, as they were before the pandemic. But the handful of teams that prefer to train at college campuses or other remote sites -- a list that has included the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Buffalo Bills and the Washington Football Team, among others -- can return. They will be required to submit a plan detailing how they will follow COVID-19 protocols at those sites, subject to approval by the NFL-NFLPA joint COVID medical committee.
Friday's memo also provided details on permissible interaction among players and coaches during in-person portions of offseason training programs.
Vaccinated staff members will be allowed to interact away from the facility with other vaccinated staff members -- and players can interact with other players -- but coaches and players will not be permitted to interact with each other anywhere except at team facilities. The memo attributed that decision to the NFLPA.
"We recognize that clubs would like to organize social and charitable events with both players and staff present, and we have approached the NFL Players Association in an effort to permit these types of activities, however they have not agreed to remove the prohibition," the memo said. "We will continue to press the Union to provide clubs and players with additional flexibility in this area."
The NFL and NFLPA are involved in ongoing negotiations about the nature of offseason programs, and for now, the NFLPA has advised most players to skip the voluntary portions of the program.