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Some talk of how teams might ease into training camps

Mike Florio says NFL fans will know if the league is preparing for a shortened season if the schedules have a majority of division games pushed back toward the end of the schedule.

Since it’s impossible to have a firm plan for much of anything right now because of the coronavirus outbreak in the United States, any discussion of a plan should probably be called a wish.

But the football industry is giving thoughts to the whens of certain parts of the offseason, since they can’t control the ifs.

According to Mike Garafolo of NFL Network, there are some within the league and the players union who are hoping states will loosen social-distancing rules enough to have some form of offseason program in late May or June. That still seems optimistic to say the least, since the varying responses to the pandemic by individual states will make it hard for the NFL to create any kind of one-size-fits-all policy.

But even if training camps are able to start sometime this summer, there are issues for players who haven’t been in a football setting going straight into an intense one.

The NFLPA has expressed concerns about the physical health of players in such a situation, with a source saying the union didn’t want “guys going from zero to a hundred right away.” Players who have only been working out on their own going straight into camps would certainly be at risk for injuries.

“There’s no way to recreate a four-month offseason program in the span of week or two,” NFL chief medical officer Allen Sills told Judy Battista of NFL Network. “When you think about resuming something like football, everyone understands there needs to be some time to acclimatize to activity and train back to the level of physical fitness just to be able to think about more football specific work. That’s part of the timeline you have to plan for. The longer we’re away from all football activity, we’ll have to adjust that timeline of preparation as well.”

Some have also discussed some degree of ramping-up physical activity in late June or mid-July, which would allow for a rolling start into training camps, assuming camps happen in a normal way or anything approaching on time.

At the moment, that’s not an assumption they can make.