New York (AFP) - The NFL extended its virtual off-season workout period by two weeks on Wednesday, pushing back the possible return of players to team facilities from Friday to May 29.
The league and players union agreed last month upon a virtual off-season due to the coronavirus pandemic that has shut down most global sport and kept much of the United States under stay-at-home rules.
Teams may conduct video-conference instructional and workout sessions four days a week for up to four hours a day over three or four weeks.
Coaches can teach offensive and defensive schemes and fitness coaches can lead workouts during the sessions, which are mostly voluntary.
But each team can decide how much, if any, virtual work is needed. Teams that have not started virtual work could begin such sessions during the extended window provided adequate notice is provided to players.
The NFL provided guidelines last week for team staff and other employees to return to team facilities and were looking to re-evaluate by Friday the procedures involving players.
The league has said that it will keep all team facilities closed unless all teams are able to have players report to them, based upon various state and local governments easing stay-at-home rules.
That could allow for on-field work by clubs in June if the league and area governments allow.
Teams typically would have players working out on fields and weight rooms in club facilities in May with an eye to starting pre-season training camps in July.
The NFL season is scheduled to begin September 10 with the Houston Texans at the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs.