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Reports NFL, union agree to offseason 'virtual' programs

Image from:-REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

NFL teams will start virtual offseason programs with players at home over the next two weeks after an agreement with the NFL Players Association has been reached Monday, several media outlets have reported.

Teams can soon start classroom instruction, workouts and non-football education programs, even as all club facilities remain shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to a league memo obtained by numerous media outlets.

Reportedly, voluntary activities may begin as soon as April 20 for teams with new head coaches and April 27 for clubs with returning head coaches.

Offseason Team Activities (OTAs) were due to begin April 6 for teams with new head coaches before the schedule was changed by the NFL.

Reportedly, participating players will receive their per diem ($235 minimum per day) for clubs holding a voluntary online offseason program, and they will receive credit for their offseason workout bonuses.

The programs on the virtual team may run through May 15. Teams may hold offseason programs until June 26 after that date - either in person if restrictions caused by COVID-19 have been lifted, or online if social distancing still needs to be followed.

NFL Executive Vice President for Football Operations Troy Vincent told media members on a conference call Monday night about the plan, "The term that continued to come up was 'reasonable and responsible in the current climate.'" It remains uncertain whether the 2020 season will start as scheduled with the Kansas City Chiefs opening Week 1 against an as-yet unnamed opponent on Thursday, Sept 10.