NFL Draft still on, but with changes for COVID-19


ARLINGTON, TX – APRIL 26: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell speaks during the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft at AT&T Stadium on April 26, 2018 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The April 23-25 NFL Draft will retain its place on the schedule, but with notable alterations due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The league announced Monday the seven-round, three-day event will proceed as planned, but without any involvement from the public, which has greatly increased over the past several years.

According to a release, the NFL is “exploring innovative options for how the process will be conducted and will provide that information as it becomes available.’’

The draft will be televised, but the NFL statement did not address whether the draft itself will remain in Las Vegas or return to New York under the restricted format. The latter seems likely.

The dramatic adjustment, according to the league, was made after consulting with “medical experts such as the CDC and in coordination with public authorities in Nevada and the city of Las Vegas.

“This decision reflects our foremost priority – the health and safety of all fans and citizens,’’ commissioner Roger Goodell said. “While this outcome is disappointing both to the NFL and 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 2019 draft was held in Nashville, Tenn. and drew a three-day crowd of approximately 600,000 that pumped an estimated $200 million into the local economy.

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