Goodell tells teams NFL will keep draft date


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NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell -- AP

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell sent a memo to all 32 teams on Thursday telling them the league will hold its draft on April 23-25 as planned according to the NFL Network.

The Commissioner's Executive Committee met on Thursday and according to the memo, Goodell told teams that it was unanimous in its approval for the draft to be held as scheduled.

"Apart from the CEC, I have personally discussed this matter with many other owners, club executives and coaches, and there is widespread support for the CEC's conclusion," Goodell said in the memo. "Everyone recognizes that public health conditions are highly uncertain and there is no assurance that we can select a different date and be confident that conditions will be significantly more favorable than they are today. I also believe that the draft can serve a very positive purpose for our clubs, our fans, and the country at large, and many of you have agreed.

"Because of the unique circumstances in our country today, the 2020 Draft will obviously need to be conducted in a different way. Already, we have cancelled all public events, we will not be bringing prospects and their families to the Draft, and the draft itself will be conducted and televised in a way that reflects current conditions.

"Our staff is certainly mindful of the operational issues this presents, and our top priority is putting in place procedures that allow all clubs to operate on a level playing field so that the draft is conducted in a way that is competitively fair to all clubs. All clubs should now be doing the necessary planning to conduct draft operations in a location outside of your facility, with a limited number of people present, and with sufficient technology resources to allow you to communicate internally, with other clubs, and with draft headquarters."

Earlier in the week, a seven-person committee of general managers voted 6-1 to delay the draft, but Goodell said that wasn't going to happen at the time.

A big reason for that is because the league is unsure that things won't get worse in future months rather than better because of the coronavirus outbreak. Thus, much like the decision to keep the start of the new league in place, the NFL is moving forward as planned.

All NFL team facilities are currently shut down around the country and no NFL team is permitted to perform physicals or meet with draft prospects.

The league also has canceled its plans to hold the draft in Las Vegas. Last year's draft drew 600,000 people to Nashville, Tenn.

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