Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

NFL informs teams that pre-draft visits will be left up to each club amid coronavirus concerns [updated]

Mar 12, 2020 at 9:44 AM--

Player agent Erik Burkhardt of Select Sports Group tweeted out on Thursday that the NFL had informed him that all upcoming pre-draft visits to team facilities have been canceled amid concerns over COVID-19 (novel coronavirus).

An NFL spokesman later said that the league year will continue as planned and that the status of pre-draft visits with prospects will be up to each team, contradicting what Burkhardt announced.

NFL teams are each permitted to host up to 30 players for visits at their headquarters locations before the NFL Draft. Not only does that involve meeting many team staff members at each facility, but it consists of a lot of travel for each player, increasing the chances of exposure and spread of the virus.

The World Health Organization on Wednesday declared the outbreak a pandemic. With pro days on the horizon, NFL teams had already started to adjust travel plans for staff. Commercial flights for coaches, scouts, and executives were being limited.

RELATED 49ers closing team facilities and Levi's Stadium amid coronavirus fears

Concerns over the coronavirus have had little impact on the San Francisco 49ers. Regional scouts for the team travel by car during this part of the offseason and do not rely on flights to get to destinations.

The Washington Redskins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New York Jets, New York Giants, and Minnesota Vikings have all reportedly pulled their coaches and scouts off the road. Other teams are likely to follow suit.

The 2020 NFL Draft is still scheduled to take place from April 23 through April 25 in Las Vegas, Nevada, and the new league year is still scheduled to begin on March 18.

San Francisco Mayor London Breed announced on Wednesday that gatherings of more than 1,000 people were to be canceled for at least the next two weeks.

The NCAA had already announced on Wednesday that the upcoming tournament games for Division I men's and women's basketball would be played without fans in attendance, limiting spectators to minimal family.

The NBA planned a similar strategy starting with Thursday's games. That, however, changed when a player, Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz, tested positive for the coronavirus. The NBA suspended operations following Wednesday night's schedule of games in an effort to prevent further spread of the virus.

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