56 National Football League players have so far tested positive for COVID-19 since training camps opened to rookies July 21, according to players’ union data compiled through Wednesday.
Camps opened for all players July 28, and the season is scheduled to kickoff Sept. 10 with health and safety measures in place designed to mitigate the potential spread of the coronavirus.
Players have until 4 p.m. ET (2000 GMT) on Thursday to inform the league of whether they intend to opt out of the season, with more than 40 already reportedly intending to skip the 2020 campaign over COVID-19 concerns.
Eligible players who opt out voluntarily will receive a $150,000 stipend, while “high-risk” opt outs get $350,000, according to the union, the National Football League Players Association. Health issues that qualify a player for being considered high risk for severe COVID-19 include cancer, type 2 diabetes, certain heart conditions and asthma.
With pre-season games canceled and attendance limited – or outright banned – in stadiums across the country, Commissioner Roger Goodell told fans in an open letter last week: “The NFL in 2020 will not look like other years.”