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NFL to test players for Covid-19 three times per week, per NFLPA

The NFL and NFLPA are negotiating health and safety protocols to get the season started on time.

Test tubes to be used for blood samples sit on table at a antibody testing program at the Hollymore Ambulance Hub of the West Midlands Ambulance Service, operated by the West Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust, on June 5, 2020 in Birmingham, England. Photo by Simon Dawson - Pool/Getty Images

The NFL is negotiating with the NFLPA for the eventual start of training camp, and part of the process includes sorting out health and safety protocols around Covid-19.

NFLPA medical director Thom Mayer informed agents on Monday that the current plan is for Covid-19 testing three times per week, according to NFL Network reporter Tom Pelissero. Players that test positive will be isolated, and Mayer thinks there is “a 90% chance reliable saliva testing is available before players return to facilities.”

Earlier in the day, word got out that Ezekiel Elliott was one of “several” Cowboys and Texans players to recently test positive for Covid-19. The players reportedly have not been in the facility and the teams are not concerned at this point, but it raises questions about the impact positive tests will have on teams once the season gets underway.

The teams will not be operating in a single isolated spot like the NBA, WNBA, and other leagues are doing, so players could intermingle with outside individuals that have the virus. Three times per week could be enough to keep the spread from happening, but it’s impossible to tell right now if that will be enough.

When players have to isolate after a positive test, what happens if multiple players test positive? What if three members of an offensive line or a sizable chunk of a team have to isolate? These are issues that will continue to be negotiated between the NFL and NFLPA.