The NFL and the NFLPA came to an agreement on Friday night that has training camps around the NFL beginning. There will be, however, a lot of changes to what fans have grown accustomed to in the preseason period due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The agreement included the cancellation of all preseason games this year. The Steelers were slated to open the preseason against the Dallas Cowboys at the Pro Football Hall of Fame game, and while that game was previously cancelled, it's now official that there will be no preseason games played league-wide.
Roster sizes will change during the preseason this year. The Steelers, like all other NFL teams, can go into camp at Heinz Field with either 80 or 90 players. That has yet to be determined by the Steelers.
The following is a listing of some other key dates and information for all NFL teams that were included in the agreement between the NFL and the NFLPA.
Reporting Dates/General: July 28-Aug. 2
All veterans can report to camp beginning on July 28 but must test negative for COVID-19 three times during this window. Virtual meetings will take place during this time. The final two days of this period will include physicals and equipment fitting.
Acclimation Period: Aug. 3-11
During this time, teams will follow the same guidelines as Phase 1 of the offseason program, with on-field activity strictly strength and conditioning and walkthrough periods. No conditioning tests are permitted. Only the team's strength and conditioning coaches will be on the field, and no helmets permitted.
Gradual ramp-up period: Aug. 12-16
This period will include four days of ramp-up and one day off. The first two days will be similar to Phase 2 of the offseason program. Coaches are permitted on the field and players can wear helmets and take part in individual player instruction and drills. The final two days the team can conduct full-speed non-contact practices, including 7-on-7, 9-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills, but no live contact.
Contact Integration Period: Aug. 17-Sept. 6
Teams are permitted to hold their first practice in pads on Aug. 17 with a 90-minute time limit. Practice can be extended by 15 minutes in the following days, with two and a half hours being the maximum time. The Steelers can hold a maximum of 14 practices in pads during this 21-day period. There are also mandatory days off every seven days.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell wrote a letter to NFL fans on Monday, noting that while camp is ready to begin, flexibility is a key.
"This week training camps across the country are starting and before we know it, the NFL season will be here," Goodell wrote in the letter. "This is always the most optimistic time of year for our fans, and for all 32 teams. In a year that has been extraordinarily difficult for our country and the world, we hope the energy of this moment will provide some much-needed optimism."