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Dolphins, Bills, Falcons consider joint practices

Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Quinn (R) said his team has talked to the Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins about possible joint practices and scrimmages before the 2020 regular season. File Photo by David Tulis/UPI
Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Quinn (R) said his team has talked to the Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins about possible joint practices and scrimmages before the 2020 regular season. File Photo by David Tulis/UPI | License Photo

May 13 (UPI) -- The Miami Dolphins, Buffalo Bills and Atlanta Falcons have discussed the possibility of joint practices prior to the 2020 NFL season.

Falcons coach Dan Quinn spoke about the idea during a video conference call with reporters Tuesday. Quinn said the Falcons spoke with both teams "way back in the off-season." The teams discussed "doing some scrimmaging." The idea could still be a longshot amid league and state coronavirus pandemic guidelines.

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"If those guidelines are in place that we're able to, we will," Quinn said.

The practices would likely occur during the preseason, with the Falcons scheduled for games against each team. Atlanta hosts Miami during the week of Aug. 13. The Bills host the Falcons during the week of Aug. 20.

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Quinn said the team awaits additional NFL guidelines about how they can meet safely. Teams have not been allowed to meet at their facilities this off-season due to the pandemic.

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci spoke about the possible criteria for an NFL return last weekend during an interview with NBC Sports. Fauci said there would a "problem" if multiple players tested positive for the coronavirus. He said the team would have to be quarantined for 14 days with their next two games canceled or postponed.

Fauci couldn't give an answer when asked if the NFL season can be played in full.

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"The virus will make the decision for us," Fauci said.

Fauci also suggested it would be optimal for players, coaches and team personnel to be tested more than once every week. That could prove difficult as it would require nearly 6,000 tests just to test players twice weekly before preseason roster cuts. Nearly 60,000 tests would be required just to test players for 53-man rosters twice during the 17-week regular season.

The Falcons held rookie minicamp last weekend with video conferences. Atlanta plans to have all players together on Monday on a virtual platform.

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