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Calais Campbell: NFLPA, NFL ‘real close’ to COVID-19 protocol agreement

Arizona Cardinals defensive end Calais Campbell (93) celebrates a defensive stop against the Green Bay Packers during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 27, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

Former Arizona Cardinals defensive end Calais Campbell has picked up a few new titles since departing the Valley.

After spending the first nine years of his career in Arizona, the five-time Pro Bowler was named the 2019 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year as a member of the Jacksonville Jaguars.

So it came as no surprise when the now-Baltimore Raven was selected to the NFLPA Executive Committee back in March.

And as Campbell prepares for his 13th season in the NFL, the NFLPA Vice President is also working with the league on COVID-19 safety protocols for the 2020 campaign.

“If we can get the safety protocols we’ve been asking for, we should be able to get through a healthy camp,” Campbell told 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station’s Doug & Wolf Show on Wednesday morning.

“There’s going to be some stuff that will come up and the biggest thing is when cases come up, being able to have a plan that is few a far between and those guys can quarantine, get healthy and get back on the field.”

Campbell added there is also an opt-out clause for any players that don’t feel safe or don’t think it’s worth the risk.

“This is something that can be life or death, so it’s definitely a scary situation,” he said. “With camp starting, I think it’ll be great to have football come around and just be a great inspiration to the whole community.

“That’s the one thing that makes football special, it really brings the whole city together.”

The NFLPA Vice President said there are two main hiccups between the NFL and the player’s association.

The first was the number of preseason games, as most players didn’t want to participate in any exhibition games prior to the regular season.

“When you’re in practice, you can kind of control the environment and still have your mask and stuff,” Campbell said. “I think it’s easier to prevent fluids from changing places.

“But when you’re out there playing the full game trying to make the team and earn your rights, I feel like there’s a lot more risk. The NFLPA as a whole — pretty much everybody — didn’t want to risk that.”

However, the former Cardinal noted that not playing preseason games will make it extremely tough for rookies who would normally need the preseason in order to prove themselves just to make the roster. But at the end of the day, Campbell said the players association just didn’t feel like it was worth the risk.

The other hiccup is the need for daily COVID-19 testing, which will go down to every other day once less than 5% of players’ tests come back positive.

“The goal here is we want to be able to start the season and complete it with minimum people getting COVID-19,” Campbell said. “So with the doctors and everything we’ve put in place, we’re real, real close to it.

“The NFL has just started coming around on most of that stuff.”

Campbell added the only outstanding issues are people who are at high risk and the economics of everything that will go into the 2020 NFL season.


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