LAKE FOREST – National Football League fans will indeed get to see their teams start training camp before the end of July.
On Friday, the NFLPA agreed to rule changes in the CBA to allow training camps to begin for teams safely on July 28th.
That means that Bears will start things up this Tuesday, but with the country still in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, the way that training camp plays out is going to be quite a bit different than anyone has ever seen.
Per a memo from the NFLPA, obtained by the NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, teams will start camp with four days of COVID-19 testing at team facilities but meetings will remain virtual.
After spending two days getting physicals and equipment for players, a nine-day “Acclimatization Period” begins for the players on August 3rd through the 11th. This is more of a conditioning period, with 60 minutes of on-field training and 60 minutes of locker room training allowed.
Small group work is permitted for up to 15, with walk-throughs permitted for 60 minutes on the first four days and 75 on the next four.
Players also get a day off during this time.
Starting August 12th and going through the 16th is the “Gradual Ramp-Up Phase” where more traditional practices begin. This is when teams can start working out in helmets and “shells” with practices starting out at 90 minutes and eventually increasing to two hours.
With 3 1/2 hours of total field time allowed, the rest can be used for walk-throughs.
Padded practices can finally start on August 17th and continues through September 6th. With the preseason already canceled, this would take players up to game week.
All of this will take place for the Bears at Halas Hall in 2020, the team’s first training camp in Lake Forest since 1983. Their season opener is scheduled for September 13th against the Lions, and the road they’ll take there this year is most unusual in recent memory.