Steelers

NFL moving forward with modified draft plans

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This kind of announcement of a first-round pick, in this case, Terrell Edmunds, right, won't happen this year -- AP

As expected, plans have changed for the 2020 NFL Draft, with the league telling officials in Las Vegas, where it was to be held, that will no longer be the case.

Where it goes from there remains to be seen, but the league is expected to still hold the event April 23-25 as scheduled. It also is still expected to be televised in some capacity.

What will change, however, is the public participation in the annual event, which has been open to fans for years.

Last year's draft in Nashville, Tenn., drew 600,000 fans to the city. But with the COVID-19 outbreak limiting travel and leading to the suspensions of large gatherings and sporting events, the league has decided to change its plans. The CDC recommended Sunday that all gatherings of 50 or more people be curtailed for the next eight weeks -- with exceptions.

"This decision reflects our foremost priority – the health and safety of all fans and citizens," said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. "While this outcome is disappointing both to the NFL and to the Las Vegas community, we look forward to partnering with the Raiders, the City of Las Vegas and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority for a future NFL Draft as well as evaluating opportunities for other major NFL events in Las Vegas in the future, including the Super Bowl."

The NFL is, however, still moving forward with its offseason plans. The only major sporting league not currently in season, the NFL's new league year begins at 4 p.m. Wednesday.

After considering delaying the start of the new league year -- and free agency that goes along with it -- the NFL decided to move forward as planned.

One thing that will change, however, is OTA workouts. Teams with new head coaches were permitted to begin allowing players to take place in offseason activities April 6. Teams with returning head coaches could start OTA workouts April 20. Those events will now be modified or canceled altogether.

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