We heard from both the NFL and NFLPA about their return to play situation this past week.
As of right now, the NFL has told teams that training camps will start as scheduled, with rookies reporting on Tuesday, quarterbacks and injured players on Thursday, and then veterans report on July 28.
Expect many teams to delay things a few days. For example, the Dolphins pushed back their rookie reporting date two days, according to the Miami Herald.
The NFLPA has told its players to start the process to report, because the NFL "owns the plant" — they set the times and working conditions. But at any point, if the NFLPA does think the working conditions aren't safe for the players, they could file a grievance (that would likely include an injunction) to halt work at the plant. And then we would get into hearings ... it could still get messy.
"We have looked at all of our options," said NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith.
Indeed, we've seen some of this on Sunday. The NFLPA held a conference call with its highest-profile players, and they are starting to become vocal on social media with an organized campaign about workplace conditions.
This feels like the beginning of a grievance process that would affect the start of the NFL season.
"We formed a task force back in March," said Smith. "We started pulling those people together even before the CBA was ratified. We entered a (memorandum of understanding) that’s an extension of the collective bargaining agreement in April, I believe, that dictated how we were going to approve the opening plans or response plans by the teams. Those were agreed upon. The protocols would be sent to the teams, and then the teams have to demonstrate how they’re going to comply with those items. The teams got that back to the union, some of the teams got that back to the union last night. And, now, the mission is us looking at those plans and ensuring that the teams can actually meet the obligations that the joint task force have laid out. So, it’s a long way of saying all of those things are going to factor into the league’s decision to start now.”
With that in mind, and after talking to several people on all sides of this issue, let's look at what we think the NFL calendar will look like to start the season: