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Pre-entry COVID-19 testing delays start of Broncos training camp

Instead of Drew Lock and the rookies reporting for conditioning and meetings Thursday, they must pass two COVID tests before entering Broncos headquarters Monday.
Credit: AP
A "Mr. B" sticker honoring the passing of former owner Pat Bowlen adorns the helmets of the Denver Broncos during an NFL preseason football game between the Denver Broncos and the San Francisco 49ers, Monday, Aug. 19, 2019, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Training camp, as Vic Fangio knew it during his previous 33 NFL seasons, has been delayed.

The NFL and player union reached agreement on a four-day, pre-entry COVID-19 testing program that will push the start of training camp from Thursday for Jerry Jeudy-led rookies, Drew Lock-led quarterbacks and Bradley Chubb-led veteran players coming off injuries, to Monday.

Under the new agreement, this group of Broncos players will report Thursday only to take a COVID-19 test. Those players will then self-quarantine on Friday and Saturday. On Sunday, players will take the test again.

Those players who have two negative tests for coronavirus can then enter Broncos headquarters for the first time on Monday. (It's not yet clear whether teams can hold virtual meetings during the quarantine period).

The rest of the Broncos veteran players will report Tuesday, July 28, for their first COVID tests. They will then quarantine July 29-30 and take their second COVID test on July 31.

Vets with two negative COVID tests can enter Broncos headquarters for the first time August 1.

At that point, players will be eased in with team meetings and conditioning workouts only. It will be a few days into August before Fangio, the Broncos’ second-year head coach, holds his first full-squad camp practice.

The NFL and the NFLPA issued statements Monday saying the league had agreed to administer COVID-19 tests to players every day through the first two weeks of training camp. If 5 percent or less test positive, COVID testing will move to every other day for the duration of training camp.

The testing agreement was considered a big step in negotiations between the owners and players as they attempt to begin and complete the 16-game, 2020 season. The two sides were still negotiating the preseason schedule although reports say no more than one, and possible zero games will be played.

That means the first contest between two opposing teams would be the start of the regular season, which for the Broncos would be Monday night, September 13 against the Tennessee Titans at Empower Field at Mile High.

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