SEATTLE — The NFL has informed teams their training camps will open on time.
League executive Troy Vincent sent a memo to general managers and head coaches on Saturday informing them rookies can report by Tuesday, quarterbacks and injured players by Thursday and all other players can arrive by July 28.
The league and the NFL Players Association are still discussing testing for the coronavirus and other health and safety protocols. Union leadership expressed several concerns in a 90-minute conference call with reporters Friday.
However, under the collective bargaining agreement, the NFL can impose report dates.
NFL players have been using the hashtag #WeWantToPlay to voice their concerns on social media, and several Seahawks players have weighed in.
On Twitter, QB Russell Wilson wrote:
"I am concerned. My wife is pregnant. @NFL Training camp is about to start and there’s still No Clear Plan on Player Health & Family Safety. We want to play football but we also want to protect our loved ones. #WeWantToPlay"
Wilson posted the tweet on Sunday morning and as of 4 p.m., it had 11,300 retweets and comments and 78,100 likes.
DK Metcalf added: "It’s crazy to hear the NFL has yet to address major health and safety issues with training camp being 2 weeks away. We want to play football. Make it happen @NFL. Keep us safe! #WeWanttoPlay"
Wide receiver Tyler Lockett tweeted "I am really nervous about putting myself at risk without any safety measures being set in place. I’ve had a family member (27) contract the virus and they didn’t think they were going to make it. This is serious. If we are going to play in a pandemic the @NFL must keep us safe. I want to play. But I also want my health to be valued more than the entertainment I bring through my play for God! #WeWantToPlay."
Duane Brown added: "Crazy to hear the @NFL is not following the recommendations of their own experts regarding player health and safety. How does this even make sense?? I want to play football but we need the @NFL to create a safe work environment for us #WeWantToPlay."
According to Houston Texans star JJ Watt, the players still don’t know the league’s plans for COVID-19 testing, whether there will be preseason games at all, opt-out clauses, etc.
Those will be significant hurdles to clear with August less than two weeks away and Week 1 of the regular season inside of two months.
The NFLPA could file a grievance to argue the league isn't providing a safe work environment under the labor deal.
"The league is management," NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith said Friday. "They have the exclusive right, just like somebody who owns a plant, regarding when it opens and when it closes. They want training camps to open on time. The role of the union is to hold them accountable about whether it's safe to open now."
The players' union wants players tested daily for the virus. A joint committee of doctors, trainers and strength coaches formed by the NFL and NFLPA recommended testing every other day.