In a normal world, the New England Patriots would begin their offseason training program next Monday at Gillette Stadium.
But nothing is "normal" in the age of coronavirus.
The NFL and NFL Players' Association reached an agreement Monday on a "virtual" offseason program for clubs to conduct with team facilities still closed to due COVID-19.
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While teams with new head coaches can begin their virtual program on Monday, April 20, they can't conduct any on-field work until all 32 club facilities can re-open, according to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero.
So, what will this "virtual" program look like for the Patriots (who can begin their program on Monday, April 27) and other NFL teams? Here are a few details, courtesy of Pelissero and Patriots.com's Erik Scalavino:
-- The virtual period will last three weeks and is voluntary for players, but those who participate are eligible for daily stipends and offseason workout bonuses.
-- The three-week program will consist of "classroom instruction, workouts, and non-football educational programs" all conducted via teleconferencing software like Zoom and Skype.
-- Teams can send players up to $1,500 worth of "workout equipment and monitoring devices" such as resistance bands, exercise bikes and Apple watches.
-- If team facilities still aren't open by May 15, teams can conduct their mandatory veteran minicamps virtually. Those virtual minicamps would be limited to four hours of "virtual training" per day -- two hours of classroom time and two hours of workout time -- for four days each week.
-- All offseason programs must end by June 26.
This setup is a far cry from what NFL teams are used to, but it's better than nothing, especially considering that North America's other professional sports leagues are on full shutdown.
The 2020 NFL Draft also is still on for April 23 through 25, so the league's schedule remains unchanged, even if the mechanics of events have changed drastically.
Add a virtual offseason to the long list of challenges Bill Belichick and the Patriots face in 2020 after Tom Brady's free-agent departure.