By Peter Brennan
The NFL has ordered teams to stop pre-draft visits to team facilities due to growing concerns surrounding the new coronavirus, NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero and Mike Garafolo reported.
“We have been closely monitoring developments relating to the coronavirus (COVID-19) and taking action based on the guidance of our Chief Medical Officer Dr. Allen Sills and the medical experts at the World Health Organization and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,” the memo stated. “After considering recent medical and public safety information related to COVID-19, we have decided to prohibit all in-person pre-Draft visits involving draft-eligible players effective at the end of this business day, until further notice.”
The news comes after NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported the Miami Dolphins had Ohio State running back J.K. Dobbins in for a pre-draft visit Friday. Rapoport reported Dobbins has been living and training for the 2020 NFL Draft in South Florida so no air travel was necessary for the visit, and the Dolphins were exercising extreme care and caution with the visit.
Rapoport also reported on NFL NOW that the Dolphins are meeting with potential first-round quarterback Jordan Love on Friday before pre-draft visits are prohibited.
Since Thursday, multiple NFL teams have suspended their air travel for coaches and scouts and a few announced they are temporarily closing their facilities due to COVID-19. The Dolphins announced Thursday that they have pulled their scouts and coaches from the road during the pre-draft process.
Additionally the memo states that the following is prohibited:
— Any draft-eligible player traveling to a club facility or other location to meet with club personnel
— Club personnel (including BLESTO or NFS scouts) traveling to any location, including a college campus to visit with a draft-eligible player
NFL teams are permitted to conducted interviews with prospects via telephone or video conferences through the day prior to the draft — scheduled April 23-25 in Las Vegas.
Per the memo, the following new restrictions are applicable to any telephone or video conference:
— Clubs can schedule no more than three telephone or video conferences with an individual draft-eligible player per week (Sunday through Saturday)
— Each telephone or video conference can last no longer than one hour
— Such telephone or video conference cannot be conducted at a time that interferes with the player’s school schedule