As the NFL continues to plan for a full 2020 season that begins on time, the league is still planning on how it will navigate the coronavirus, including what to do with players who contract it.
According to Pro Football Talk, players who test positive for the virus will be placed on injured reserve for three weeks.
Per a league source, the league intends to change the injured reserve rules to create a COVID-19 classification. Players who test positive will be placed on the COVID-19 list for three weeks, creating a roster spot that would then be filled with a player who is negative for the virus.
The players on the COVID-19 list would be paid their normal salaries.
It’s unclear what will happen if a player on the COVID-19 list can’t return after three weeks, at which time he will be eligible to return to practice. He must be returned to the active roster within three weeks after that, or he will revert to IR (absent an injury settlement).
This is very good news for all 32 teams, as they will all likely have at least one player contract the virus at some point if a full season is played. Having the flexibility to put them on IR for three weeks and call up another player will make it easier for teams to overcome players lost temporarily to the virus. This will also make it easier for teams to press on when affected by the virus and not have a suspension during the season.
Of course, there’s still plenty of other issues for the NFL and NFLPA to hammer out before teams begin reporting for training camp over the next few weeks, but this was a big issue that’s now seemingly resolved.