KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Before the Chiefs can defend their title on the field this fall, they’ll need to work together to combat the spread of coronavirus.
As part of the initial days of training camp protocols, rookie players and quarterbacks reported to the team facility this week for virus testing.
“It took this whole village to get us to today,” began Chiefs VP of Sports Medicine and Performance Rick Burkholder.
As a key member of crafting virus protocols for Kansas City and the NFL, Burkholder said it will take buy-in from players, coaches, staff and the front office to properly execute the 2020 season.
#Chiefs VP of Sports Medicine and Performance Rick Burkholder on 2020 season: "This isn't going to feel normal because it's not normal. We need to adjust."— Aaron Ladd (@aaronladd0) July 25, 2020
Says the organization is fighting an invisible beast.
“It’s going to take a whole village to get us to September 10 and it’s going to take even more people as we add to the ship, to get us through February,” he finished.
Burkholder added Kansas City was the first NFL team to have its infectious disease emergency response (IDER) plan approved, a plan each team must submit for review before players may report.
All 32 teams have submitted IDER plans–8 of them have been approved and the remaining plans are under review. pic.twitter.com/y8ej5VDZqH— NFLPA (@NFLPA) July 22, 2020
In addition to around-the-clock testing, Chiefs players and staff will wear contact tracing devices aimed at mitigating potential spread.
“The way everything is displayed here and set up here, I feel absolutely safe,” rookie RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire said of the safety measures.
“Seeing all the protocols and all the safety things that Rick and those guys have put forth, it’s made me feel even better than I felt coming in,” QB Patrick Mahomes said, after admitting he was initially hesitant to report.
The club will split time between the training facility and nearby Arrowhead Stadium for the duration of training camp, all in the name of safe social distancing policies.
“We think that we’re going to put the players in a position where they’re safe,” Head Coach Andy Reid added.
An official training camp schedule remains in flux but the team is expected to begin padded practices August 14.