The Green Bay Packers have shifted the spotlight onto rookie quarterback Jordan Love and taken the first steps toward molding him into a leader of their football team.
The Packers released a video Tuesday in which their 2020 first-round draft pick called for people to “play by the rules” and “wear a mask” to keep everyone safe during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Love’s message emphasized both teamwork and safety during his first official appearance for the Packers since signing his rookie contract.
“I’m sure you’ve seen one of these,” Love begins in the video, holding up a dark green mask. “Who would have thought a simple piece of cloth would be such a hot topic for debate?”
“You’re free to help a child with asthma avoid a life-threatening disease,” Love continued. “You’re free to protect a grandmother so she can help raise her grandkids. You’re free to do what we players do every day and that’s wear the right equipment and keep everybody safe. COVID-19 isn’t going away any time soon. It’s a tough opponent, but together you and I are an even tougher team. Stay strong, play by the rules and wear a mask — because safety and freedom take teamwork.”
The Packers signed Love to a fully guaranteed rookie contract earlier this month after trading up in April’s 2020 NFL draft to select him at No. 26 overall out of Utah State. The surprising pick has prompted plenty of discussion about veteran Aaron Rodgers and how long the team intends to wait before trying to pass the torch to Love, but the Packers’ plans for him during his rookie season remain unclear with training camp just weeks away.
Love and the rest of the rookies are scheduled to report for camp next Tuesday on July 21, while the veteran Packers are set to join them on July 28.
Packers Announce No Fans for Preseason or Training Camp
The Packers have maintained a tone of optimism about fans and how much they will be involved in the upcoming NFL season, but some of that hope is now deflated.
The Packers announced Wednesday afternoon that no fans will be permitted to attend 2020 training camp practices or any home preseason games. The same restriction applies to Packers Family Night, a preseason tradition that will still take place at Lambeau Field and instead be televised to a statewide audience. The date and time have not yet been finalized.
“The tremendous support of cheering fans at Lambeau Field motivates all of us in the Packers organization,” Packers President/CEO Mark Murphy said in a team release on Wednesday. “But after consulting with local health officials and reviewing League and CDC guidelines, we felt we needed to make this difficult decision. We will miss seeing so many of our fans, particularly the young ones, during this exciting time of year. We will continue to work on the protocols and logistics in the hope that we can welcome fans back to Lambeau Field for the regular season without jeopardizing the health of our players, team personnel and fans.
“We ask our fans to help us in this effort by wearing masks and staying six feet away from non-family members when out in the community in the coming weeks.”
At one point, reports suggested the NFL could shut down their entire preseason in response to the nationwide spread of the coronavirus, but the league’s latest proposal to the NFLPA still leaves two games on the table. Per NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, though, the union wants to get rid of the preseason and address other issues, including testing frequency and injury protections for players who contract COVID-19.
The NFL owners are scheduled to have a conference call on Friday afternoon that could offer more answers about the upcoming season, but the NFLPA must agree to their guidelines and conditions before anything about 2020 can be considered certain.