Hall of Fame Announces Bold Move With Cowboys’ Preseason Game

Jerry Jones

Getty Jerry Jones

The Dallas Cowboys‘ 2020 exhibition lid-lifter is officially kaput.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame announced Thursday it has postponed the Hall of Fame Game between the Cowboys and Pittsburgh Steelers due to ongoing concerns surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.

The contest, scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 6, now will take place on Aug. 5, 2021, at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio.

Additionally, this year’s HOF class will be enshrined along with next year’s lot — “as many as 28 legends,” including Cowboys icons Jimmy Johnson and Cliff Harris, receiving football immortality.

“The health and safety of our Hall of Famers, fans and volunteers who make Enshrinement Week so special remains our top priority,” said David Baker, president and CEO of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. “The Hall will honor the Centennial Class of 2020 next August, along with what promises to be an equally spectacular Class of 2021, as part of a multi-day celebration of football with an atmosphere that will deliver for fans ‘Twice the Fun in ’21.’”

The announcement comes less than one week after Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine expressed extreme skepticism over the HOF festivities with coronavirus cases spiking around the country. As did Steelers star Cam Heyward, who felt the annual preseason opener “is probably out.”

“We talk so much about safety. Why would we want to expose two teams to an extra game a week early? Plus, I think there is a rule that says you need 47 days of activity before you get to the first game. We’ll see. I’d say I’m pretty pessimistic,” Heyward said last week, via TribLive.com.

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What’s Next?

This was supposed to be the first of five summer tilts for the Cowboys, who are also slated to face the Los Angeles Chargers, Kansas City Chiefs, Baltimore Ravens, and Houston Texans before heading into the regular season. But the NFL is likely to reduce the number of preseason games — possibly to two; one home and one away — in an effort to curtail the spread of the virus.

League owners are holding a conference call Thursday to discuss the next course of action. It was reported Thursday that July 28 is the tentative training camp start date for all 32 clubs.

Rather than pack for Oxnard, Calif., where they typically set up weeks-long shop, the Cowboys will conduct practices at The Star in Frisco, as NFL commissioner Roger Goodell prohibited travel away from team headquarters for camp.

Zeke Issues Health Update After Corona Diagnosis

A week after Ezekiel Elliott and “several” NFL players tested positive for COVID-19, the Cowboys running back claims he’s on the mend.

“I’m feeling good,” Elliott said Wednesday during a Twitch stream, via Pro Football Talk. “I would say I had maybe one or two days when I felt symptoms. Even then, it wasn’t too bad. I had a cough and a little bit of shortness of breath. Now, I would say I feel good. I feel normal.”

Elliott reportedly was asymptomatic at the time he, along with other, unnamed members of the Cowboys and Texans, contracted the illness. His agent, Rocky Arceneaux, who confirmed the diagnosis to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, had said his client was “feeling good.”

The Pro Bowl back said, despite his improving health, he isn’t yet able to resume workouts. Elliott will undergo another test next week to determine whether the virus remains in his system.

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Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL

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