The NFL is inching toward normalcy as the world continues to grapple with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
That normalcy could first come in the form of fully operational minicamps which could be held in mid- or late June, Yahoo! Sports' Charles Robinson reported Tuesday.
A source told Robinson that NFL coaches could return to the team facilities as early as next week, and that if the COVID-19 data permits, players could follow for minicamps either on June 15 or June 27. But at least one major hurdle still remains, with a league source telling Robinson that California Governor Gavin Newsom might be the one person standing in the way of a fully operational and on-time minicamp.
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Newsom has said that professional sports could potentially start to return to California without fans in early June if the trend lines hold. If Newsom were to give the go-ahead of minicamps without fans, then the NFL could be fully on schedule with minicamps before setting the dates for training camp.
“If California is open for [team] operations soon, minicamps can still happen in June — probably late June, I’d think — but maybe even mid-June,” the league source told Robinson.
The 49ers had been looking at possibly holding their training camp outside of California due to the state's ongoing lockdown. Newsom has said he doesn't "anticipate" normal NFL games returning to California this year, but it appears he's willing to give fan-less games a chance as long as the data says it's safe and the leagues have a plan to keep the players and employees safe.
The shelter-in-place order and social distancing have helped to flatten the curve in California. As of Tuesday, the state had 94,558 confirmed cases and 3,795 deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and state and local government reporting.
Sports will start to come back in the coming months and it could begin with 49ers minicamp in mid-to-late June. But only if the data and public health officials deem it to be a safe and prudent decision.