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In the age of COVID, Hall of Fame Game and festivities now loom large on the NFL calendar

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August 6th isn’t as far away as it sounds.

NFL: AUG 01 Preseason - Hall of Fame Game - Falcons v Broncos Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

With June winding down, it’s hard not to notice that the first NFL training camps are slated to open in about a month.

Unlike in year’s past, the NFL isn’t publicly broadcasting start dates of teams’ training camps. Usually, by this time of year the dates are included on the crawl at the bottom of NFL Network’s programming, not in 2020. Last year, the Broncos announced the training camp schedule, of both public and private practices, on June 11th. With no such release this year (and with fan sessions increasingly becoming unlikely), it’s not exactly clear on what date Denver will convene. If you search around for training camp information, most teams, the Broncos included, still have only outdated 2019 information available.

The same goes for the Pittsburgh Steelers and Dallas Cowboys who are slated to face off in the Hall of Fame Game that traditionally kicks off enshrinement weekend in Canton. Because they are to play in the league’s earliest game of the year, it’s easy to estimate when they would expect to open full squad training camp.

Last year, the Denver Broncos played in the Hall of Fame Game on August 1st. Because of the early start to the preseason, they opened training camp on July 18th (two weeks prior to the game). Using the same logic, that places the Steelers and Cowboys in camp on or around July 23rd, or a month and a day from the date of this article.

With only one month to go before the first organized in-person team activities are supposed to begin, the NFL season no longer feels so far off. Considering the COVID-19 infection rate spikes in key NFL states like Texas, Florida, California and others, these next couple weeks will be telling as to how NFL football may look in 2020.

Recent news doesn’t bode well. Just within the last couple weeks various athletes across the spectrum of team sports have tested positive. Players from the Philadelphia Phillies, Toronto Blue Jays, Tampa Bay Lightning, Kansas State Wildcats, Denver Broncos, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Dallas Cowboys, Houston Texans, and others have or are currently battling the coronavirus. It also isn’t a great sign that the NFL Players Association advised players to stop holding private group workouts over this last weekend.

Nothing official regarding the game or enshrinement ceremony has been publicly discussed, but decisions will soon need to be made. It’s going to be an interesting next few weeks, not just in the NFL, but the whole of American sports in general.

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