On the same day the first set of rookies was permitted to report to team facilities for 2020 NFL training camp, the league and the NFL Players Association held a meeting to finalize health and safety protocols, the number of preseason games and other arrangements as they try to start a football season amid the COVID-19 pandemic.Four days later, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announced that the sides had reached an agreement on the protocols and that camps would begin as scheduled. The league and the players are “committed to playing a safe and complete 2020 season, culminating with the Super Bowl,” Goodell said. In the wake of that pressure, the NFL offered a zero-game preseason schedule rather than the one-week proposal it had made a day prior. The NFLPA told its members that there would be no preseason games this year.Goodell later confirmed preseason games had been canceled for 2020.Simply put: The players wanted to implement the 48-day training camp schedule the joint medical committee suggested and roll straight into Week 1 of the regular season in early September. The NFL wanted at least one preseason game for the money boost, but the players saw it as a non-essential risk to their health. They wanted to save the risks for games that matter. On one hand, the NFL and the NFLPA potentially finalizing these protocols quite literally at the last minute seems absurd considering that the coronavirus outbreak reached the United States more than four months ago. But the league and the players have been working with a moving target.MORE: NFL stars go after the league with a Twitter blitzThe NFL at one point had time on its side, and it hoped the status of the virus would evolve to the point where the league could move forward with its 2020 season on time without much interruption. But with COVID-19 cases still on the rise in the United States as of late July, the league and the players battled unforeseen circumstances and scrambled to agree on protocols.We already knew the start dates for NFL training camps and for the regular season — barring more unforeseen changes, of course. Monday’s meeting was successful in that it gave us answers to questions about health and safety protocols as well as the status for preseason games in 2020.NFL training camp dates 2020Rookies report: July 21Veteran players report: July 28Full-contact practice begins: Aug. 17The NFL on July 18 sent a memo to all 32 teams confirming the above reporting dates for 2020 NFL training camps, and Goodell’s announcement Friday ensured that July 28 will remain the final reporting date in that list.However, because the NFL agreed to pack such a lengthy acclimation period of strength and conditioning into the 2020 training camp schedule, padded practices — or what most consider to be actual “training camp” — won’t begin until Aug. 17.The exceptions to the NFL’s standard reporting dates for training camp are the Chiefs and Texans, whose players were allowed to report early because they will play in the 2020 regular-season opener Thursday, Sept. 10, three days before the Sunday slate of Week 1 games.It’s worth noting that the CBA does give teams the right to set their own reporting dates if they prefer to report later, but a team doing so would risk putting itself at a competitive disadvantage.COVID-19 protocols for NFL training campThe exact format for 2020 NFL training camps, all of which will be held at teams’ facilities rather than off-site locations, was decided a few days after NFL and the NFLPA finalized the health and safety measures.The NFLPA had been pushing for a longer-than-normal acclimation period to get their bodies ready for full-contact practices in pads. The NFL-NFLPA joint medical committee suggested a 48-day training camp, including a 21-day acclimation (strength and conditioning) period.The players for the most part got what they wanted, as full padded practices will begin 21 days into training camp. Below is the full training camp schedule all teams will follow. (The Chiefs and Texans’ dates are three days earlier than those listed.)DatesPeriodJuly 28-31COVID-19 testing and virtual meetingsAug. 1-2Physicals and equipment distributionAug. 3-11Acclimation periodAug. 12-16Gradual ramp-up periodAug. 17-Sept. 6Contact integration period (practice)As for health and safety protocols at NFL training camps, all 32 teams have submitted infectious disease emergency response (IDER) plans for the season. All 32 plans have been cleared by NFL chief medical officer Dr. Allen Sills, but for a team to have more than 20 people at its facility and therefore open training camp, its IDER plan also needs to be approved by the NFLPA. That process is ongoing.The players wanted daily COVID-19 testing, and the NFL agreed to implement just that for at least the first two weeks of training camp. Starting Aug. 1, the NFL will have all personnel tested once a day, and after two weeks, if the rate of positive tests is below five percent, testing will move to every other day.As the NBA did, the NFL hired BioReference Laboratories to perform the entirety of its COVID-19 testing. The company has set up sites at all 32 team facilities to ensure uniform testing protocols league-wide.Players will need multiple negative tests before they’re allowed to be in the building for physicals or team activities. That’s a lesson the NFL has taken from other pro leagues: Take it slow. NFL Chief Medical Officer Dr. Allen Sills says test results expected within 24 hours.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) July 20, 2020According to NBC Sports’ Peter King, the NFL can expect BioReference Labs to turn around COVID-19 test results in roughly 24 hours, which is part of the reason the players insisted on daily tests. There will be lots of player-coach interaction in a 24-hour period.Per King, if a player tests positive, he will fall into one of two categories:”If he has symptoms of COVID-19, at least 10 days must pass since the first symptoms occurred and at least 72 hours have passed since symptoms last occurred. He must test negative and have his return approved by a team doctor in consultation with league medical officials.””If he is asymptomatic, 10 days must have passed since his positive test — or five days have passed since the positive test, plus two tests that show negative results, for him to resume playing.”The NFL also is implementing contact tracing so it can monitor the interactions of those who test positive. As Vikings head athletic trainer and infection control officer Eric Sugerman explained, people will be given proximity tracking devices when they enter the facility.”The contact tracing program that we have will be very efficient,” Sugarman said (via ESPN). “There’s a company that’s going to oversee it and within seconds be able to generate a report. Let’s say we’re in training camp a month from now and I test and have a positive test. It will be able within minutes to say who I was in contact with for whatever the threshold is, 15 minutes, etc., and I am guessing that any contact tracing program those people will be subject to more testing.”All teams will have three “COVID Protocol Coordinators” at their facilities to enforce the rules of IDER plans, and face coverings will be required at all times inside buildings.In today’s FMIA column at @NBCSports, you’ll find:• Why Vikings coach Mike Zimmer lost his parking spot• An exclusive tour of an NFL facility in COVID times• Recap of what I missed during 5-week vacation• All the reasons Daniel Snyder’s gotta gohttps://t.co/GrihvNlzps pic.twitter.com/AixYeQpGaz— Peter King (@peter_king) July 20, 2020King recently was granted access at the Vikings’ facility in Eagan, Minn., to provide an example of how NFL teams had prepared for the players’ arrival. Minnesota installed four COVID-19 testing bays and a single entry point, complete with temperature checks and sanitation, at its facility. The team also established social distancing protocols in its locker room, cold/hot tubs, showers, training rooms, meeting rooms and cafeteria.To help protect players on the field, the NFL is pushing for the use of a mouth shield, developed by Oakley, that clips to the facemask. Players have been testing the mouth shields, but the NFL for now is not expected to mandate them in 2020.NFL preseason gamesThis seems to be the primary reason why so many high-profile NFL players had been publicly critical of the NFL’s approach to the start of the 2020 season. The NFL at the time was pushing for a two-week preseason schedule after cutting it from four, and the players felt the risks associated with two meaningless games weren’t worth the trouble.