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NFL says teams must hold training camps at home facilities

A view of the Pittsburgh Steelers' 2019 training camp at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. The Steelers have held training camp there for more than a half-century, but won't be allowed to return there this year due to a new league directive (Photo by Mark Alberti/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

National Football League teams must hold their training camps this summer at their main practice facilities due to the Covid-19 pandemic and will not be allowed to hold joint practices with other teams, according to a newly sent league memo.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell detailed the new provisions in the memo, and the moves were made in consultation with the NFL Players Association. The aim is to reduce the amount of health risks and cleaning requirements stemming from the ongoing pandemic.

“The NFLPA was strongly in favor of these two decisions, which were made to limit exposure risks by avoiding the need for clubs to clean and maintain two facilities, by limiting the need for players and club staffs to travel to another location (sometimes located at a considerable distance from the home facility), and by limiting travel and contact between players on different clubs in the contest of joint practices,” Goodell said in the memo. “These steps are being taken for the 2020 preseason to address the current conditions and are not expected to be in place in 2021.”

Most NFL teams already do hold their training camps at their year-round practice facilities. But there is a handful of prominent teams, including Super Bowl LIV champion Kansas City, Pittsburgh, Dallas, and the Los Angeles Rams, among others, that stage at least part of their preseason training elsewhere, with the remote facilities traditionally serving to help with expanded fan engagement and offering additional field space to handle expanded preseason rosters.

For the Steelers, the one-year training camp shift will be particularly notable as they have trained at St. Vincent College in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, for more than 50 years.

The NFL last month began limited re-openings of team facilities in areas where allowed by state and local governments. No coaches or players not undergoing injury rehabilitation have been allowed in yet, though. It is expected the complexes will be fully opened soon, but under strict social distancing protocols.