Ahead of training camps opening this week, Patriots cornerback Jason McCourty expressed concern about the viability of this year’s NFL season.
“I’m not going to lie,” McCourty said Sunday evening during an episode of “Double Coverage,” a podcast he co-hosts with his twin brother, and teammate, Devin. “For me, as a fellow player, I go on social media and it makes me very nervous to think there will be a season. Because I’ve gone on social media and seen guys posting a video in a night club, and it’s just like, ‘Yo, we’re attempting to play football. That’s not going to be OK.'”
As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the NFL made significant changes to its offseason this year, eliminating OTAs, minicamps, and, most recently, preseason games. Team facilities have largely remained closed to non-rehabbing players, but will soon be open for training camp.
The unusual offseason has McCourty worried about how the behavior of his peers could affect the spread of the virus, and, in turn, the status of the season.
“You see guys working out in one city on a Monday, working out in another city on a Tuesday, and another city the next week,” McCourty said. “It’s just like, ‘Dang, if they’re working out here, here, and here, that means you have to be traveling and you come across however many people.’ Or you see a guy posting pictures and there’s hundreds of [people], whether it’s anywhere, you know what I mean?
“So, for me, it is nerve-wracking. Those are the things, for me, it makes me nervous to say, ‘Are we going to be able to have an entire season?’ Because small things like that go a long way. Because it only takes one person testing positive, you come into the building, and that thing will spread like wildfire.”
McCourty cited Rutgers, where he played three seasons of college football, as an example of how things can go awry. Rutgers recently paused all in-person team activities and quarantined the entire football team, after the program recorded 10 positive tests since returning to campus on June 15.
Patriots rookies and quarterbacks are expected to report to Gillette Stadium on Monday, with the rest of the team following suit later in the week. The organization has already trimmed its roster to fulfill the league’s 80-person limit, releasing nine players Sunday afternoon.
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