Amid boycott discuss, mix alters COVID insurance policies


The NFL scouting mix on Monday night time despatched a memo to all potential NFL gamers attending subsequent month’s annual pre-draft occasion in Indianapolis, revising its insurance policies and procedures concerning COVID-19 protocols.

The memo, obtained by ESPN’s Adam Schefter, focuses on mask-wearing for each the gamers and medical personnel, in addition to defining the occasion’s safe areas, keys factors of competition amongst gamers’ brokers.

“As has been the case all through the pandemic, we proceed to evolve our mix insurance policies and procedures in session with medical specialists,” the memo mentioned. “Whereas masks proceed to be required for air journey and through medical exams on the mix (gamers and medical personnel), carrying a masks at different instances whereas on website is advisable, however not required.

“We encourage all gamers to stay throughout the safe mix areas always on your security. Nonetheless, if you want to go away the safe areas throughout free time in your schedule, you at the moment are permitted to take action at your personal danger.”

The memo landed hours after the potential of participant boycotts made information Monday morning. Sources told ESPN’s Dan Graziano that a group of player agents was threatening to arrange a boycott of sure key parts of the mix if its issues a couple of COVID-19 “bubble” continued to be ignored.

However not all brokers have been in that group.

“I perceive their grievances, and so they wish to take their trainers with them to the mix, and so they may need entry to their agent. They may have relations. They usually might have a whole help group each for his or her bodily and emotional well being — and the NFL laws appear unduly restrictive,” agent Leigh Steinberg mentioned Monday. “Having mentioned that, we are going to ship our gamers as a result of that is the Tremendous Bowl of scouting occasions. And you’ve got gamers who’ve labored their entire lives to arrange for the NFL draft.”

The NFL despatched a memo final week to draft prospects and their brokers outlining guidelines for the mix, together with a bubble that may hold prospects from interacting with their private trainers, medical doctors, nutritionists and brokers whereas in Indianapolis. Monday night time’s memo featured amendments to additional accommodate the gamers — and their coaching groups — on the occasion.

“When you choose to stay within the safe areas and have your permitted medical help personnel (bodily therapist, therapeutic massage therapist, or permitted athletic coach) enter the safe space to offer medical remedies, please observe the beforehand communicated process and full the shape in Teamworks (when you’ve got not already),” the memo added.

This seems to be a direct results of pushback from the group of brokers representing greater than 150 of the 324 invited prospects. They mentioned they might maintain their gamers out of mix drills and interviews if the league didn’t relent on the unique plans. These gamers would, if the boycott have been to be carried out, take part solely within the medical evaluations on the mix. They’d do their mix drills at their particular person professional days as an alternative of in Indianapolis.

Effectively into Sunday night time, brokers and the NFL have been discussing the issues in an try to keep away from the announcement of the boycott, which the brokers concerned have been tentatively planning for Monday, sources near the scenario instructed Graziano.

On Sunday, the NFLPA issued a memo to participant brokers in help of the thought of gamers skipping the mix, an occasion it described as “antiquated” and whose existence the union has lengthy opposed.

Brokers of incoming prospects furnish these gamers, at their very own expense, with trainers, nutritionists and different specialists as a part of their preparation for the grueling weeklong occasion at which they’re measured, weighed, interviewed and examined on varied expertise. The brokers have objected to current adjustments which have moved some drills to prime time for TV functions and compressed the period of time the gamers should get the whole lot performed whereas in Indy.

Specifically, the brokers opposed the thought of the bubble that may stop gamers from interacting with among the key individuals charged with ensuring they’re at their finest for mix week. One supply near the scenario mentioned the vitamin side was among the many most upsetting, since lots of the prospects are attempting to succeed in sure weights in time for the mix, and that effort could possibly be upset by the last-minute determination by the league to be the only supplier of meals for prospects on the occasion.

Discussions continued all through Monday in an effort to succeed in a compromise, finally resulting in the mix’s determination and eventual launch of the assertion.

Final 12 months’s mix was scuttled due to the coronavirus, as have been in-person visits, main groups to depend on athletes’ professional days in making their draft evaluations. This 12 months’s mix is scheduled to run March 1-7.

The Related Press contributed to this report.

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