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NFL looks to cancel 2 preseason games for every team, delays start: report

The long-rumored decision is now waiting for NFLPA approval, and it would push back the start of the preseason by a week.

The Bears were scheduled to open the 2020 preseason at home against the Browns.
AP Photos

The NFL intends to cancel the first and fourth preseason games to reduce the risk of the coronavirus spreading and give players extra time to get in shape before facing live action, ESPN reported. The schedule change has long been rumored.

Players apparently weren’t immediately informed of the league’s plans.

“We find out everything NFL related via twitter smh,” Bears wide receiver Allen Robinson tweeted. “I guess it’s 2 preseason games lol.”

The NFLPA has not agreed to the two-game preseason, and Broncos kicker Brandon McManus — the team’s player representative in the union — tweeted that it will be one game per team or the preseason will be eliminated entirely.

Canceling preseason games would be the first significant interruption to the NFL’s calendar, which has essentially remained intact throughout the offseason despite the pandemic.

The Bears are scheduled to open the preseason at home against the Browns on Aug. 15 and close Sept. 3 at the Titans. Assuming those games are canceled, their preseason schedule would be limited to Aug. 22 at the Broncos and a home game against the 49ers on Aug. 29.

The team originally had an agreement with the Broncos to hold joint practices in Colorado the week of their preseason matchup, but the NFL banned that for this year.

The league has yet to announce any changes to the regular-season schedule, which is set to begin Sept. 10 with the Chiefs and Texans playing in Kansas City. The Bears will open at the Lions on Sept. 13.

With the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, the preseason will be cut to three games next season when the NFL begins playing 17-game regular seasons.