Cleveland Browns co-owner Jimmy Haslam is hopeful the NFL will have a season despite the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to be a major issue in America.
“The NFL and Cleveland Browns, I think, have done a great job in terms of protocol and everything from testing to distancing. If you sat in our facility now versus going in last year, it looks completely different. So I will say this, we are all doing everything we possibly can to have pro football this year. I think we understand it’s a fluid world and there are no guarantees. But we are cautiously optimistic. And we believe the nation badly needs sports, particularly the NFL,” Haslam — who co-owns the Browns with wife Dee — said on Yahoo Finance’s The First Trade.
The Browns revealed some of those changes to its facility in a new post on its website this week, one being the removal of the buffet inside the cafeteria.
Despite the extra safety precautions being taken by teams ahead of the start of training camps early next month, some players have opted to sit the season out due to the the pandemic. At last count, about 25 players have decided to opt out of the coming NFL season.
Two Cleveland Browns players - development guard Drew Forbes and undrafted free agent linesman Drake Dorbeck — have opted out of the season. Three Cleveland Browns players have been put on the team’s new reserve/COVID-19 list after contracting the virus —punter Jamie Gillan, running back Dontrell Hilliard and Jovante Moffatt.
“We don’t know for sure,” Haslam said when asked if more Browns players will opt out of the season. “They have to decide by August 3. Once you opt out, you can’t opt back in. We don’t think it will happen. Players are concerned. We spent the last couple of weeks doing education with them. They are back on campus. I would say cautious optimism.”