Report: NFL agrees to cancel all 2020 preseason games; roster size might shrink

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INDIANAPOLIS – One phase of the NFL’s calendar will take a one-year hiatus.

According to NFL Network and ESPN, the remaining two preseason games have been eliminated as the NFL and players’ union continue to hammer out details of opening training camps amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The NFLPA reportedly informed its membership Tuesday the league has agreed to zero preseason games.

For the Indianapolis Colts, that means the Aug. 24 meeting with Washington in Lucas Oil Stadium and an Aug. 29 trip to Buffalo have been scrubbed. Previously, the NFL canceled the first and fourth preseason games, which for the Colts were an Aug. 13 game with Philadelphia at Lucas Oil and a Sept. 3 visit to Cincinnati.

The Colts are scheduled to open the regular season Sept. 13 at Jacksonville.

The league and union have agreed on a detailed testing protocol for players reporting to their team’s facility for the start of camp. That includes requiring a player twice testing negative for the coronavirus followed by two weeks of daily testing.

Other issues still are being negotiated, including:

  • the 90-player roster being trimmed to 80 for camp.
  • the length of an acclimation period for players before pads and contact drills are allowed. With veterans scheduled to report July 28 and the first five days of camp being reserved for players making their way through the testing process, it’s conceivable on-field practice might not commence until mid-August. The first three weeks might be for strength and conditioning, which would give way to more on-field football-related drills.
  • how to handle players who opt out of the 2020 season because of medically-related concerns.

You can follow Mike Chappell on Twitter at @mchappell51.

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