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On Monday, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell sent a memo to all 32 teams outlining procedures for the April 23-25 draft. The guidelines include no group gatherings.
“We have reviewed this matter in the past few days with both the competition committee and CEC (a group of league executives),” Goodell wrote. “And this will confirm that clubs will conduct their draft operations remotely, with club personnel separately located in their homes.”
Team facilities have been shut down since March 26, and Goodell has ordered them to remain closed indefinitely. He said that teams will reopen their facilities when “it is safe to do so based on medical and public health advice, and in compliance with government mandates.”
The draft was originally set to be held in Las Vegas, but the NFL canceled all public events last month amid the coronavirus pandemic, which has drastically affected the sports world. In the memo, Goodell also instructed the teams on how they should plan to make their selections.
“Moreover, we want all NFL personnel to comply with government directives and to model safe and appropriate health practices,” Goodell said. “Our staff will carry out its responsibilities in the same way, operating in separate locations outside of our offices.
“And after consulting with medical advisers, we cannot identify an alternative that is preferable from a medical or public health perspective, given the varying needs of clubs, the need properly to screen participants, and the unique risk factors that individual club employees may face.”
NFL owners pushed for the draft to go on as scheduled, even though several team general managers wanted the league to postpone the draft until a later date because they felt it was an unfair playing field. Goodell said that everyone will be “operating in an environment, unlike anything we have experienced before, one that requires flexibility, patience, and cooperation.”
It is expected that ESPN and NFL Network will televise the draft in a joint effort, however, there have been no official plans announced.