Texans' J.J. Watt says players want to play, but they need answers

Emphasizing that "we want to play,"Houston Texans star J.J. Wattposted a list of questions that NFL players need answered before training camps can open.

The Texans are supposed to open the regular season Thursday, Sept. 10, at Kansas City, with rookies for both teams scheduled to report to camp on Monday for COVID-19 testing and then the onboarding process, a source told ESPN's Adam Schefter.


Watt, who said that he was part of four NFL Players Association calls with hundreds of players over the past two weeks, posted the questions to Twitter, beginning and ending his post with: "We want to play."

The NFL responded to the NFLPA's counterproposal on coronavirus-related reopening protocols on Tuesday night, with a major unresolved issue being whether COVID-19 should be classified as a non-football injury, a source told ESPN's Dan Graziano. NFL teams that place players on the non-football injury list are not required to pay those players.

A source told ESPN's Jeremy Fowler that among the requests in the players' recent proposal were opt-out clauses for at-risk players (receive salary but not bonuses), players with at-risk families (earn an accrued season and benefits) and players who leave their team after reporting (terms uncertain) if they decide not to play.

Players also are requesting a $250,000 stipend guaranteed to all players if they show up to camp and then later everything is shut down because of COVID-19 concerns. That amount rises to $500,000 if the season starts and is later shut down, the source told Fowler.


The NFLPA also wants coronavirus testing every day and no preseason games this year, while the league wants less frequent testing (such as every other day) and two preseason games, the source told Fowler.

Hovering over the discussions is the spike in coronavirus cases in states like Texas, Arizona and California, and the increasing possibility that those states might soon be implementing shutdown provisions that would limit large gatherings. Should that happen, it's possible teams in those states wouldn't be able to hold training camps. An earlier NFL-NFLPA agreement stipulates that teams are required to hold training camps at their own team facilities this year, and that if any team cannot open its facility, no other team will be allowed to open its facility.

One source told Graziano on Friday that details of the proposals and counterproposals are changing "every two to three hours." The level of communication between the sides has increased and intensified in recent days, as both sides agree time is of the essence.

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