July 22 (UPI) -- Players who'd hoped to win a roster spot on an NFL team by turning heads in the preseason will have to try during practice or wait until next year after the league canceled its exhibition slate.
The union informed players Tuesday there will be no preseason this year. Owners had proposed a one-game preseason to the union Monday before they opted to cancel outright.
For weeks, team owners and the players union negotiated the length of the 2020 preseason due to risks associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Losing four preseason games for each team means the 2020 kickoff is scheduled to start with a Week 1 matchup between the Houston Texans and Kansas City Chiefs at 8:20 p.m. EDT on Sept. 10 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo.
Star players from last year likely won't have to worry about their roster spots, but fringe players need to impress coaches and general managers in training camp and practice if they want to play in the regular season.
The union told players that roster sizes are expected to be at 80 to start training camp when teams report Tuesday. NFL teams previously had 90-man rosters at training camp that were trimmed to 53 before Week 1. In past years, teams also could sign 10 non-roster players for their practice squads throughout the season.
Owners have yet to agree to the union's proposal of 80-man training camp rosters. A roster of 80 active players and 10 standby players also is under consideration.
Teams had expected the 90-man roster format to be in place prior to the coronavirus pandemic. They now may have to release players before training camp, which means some who were signed after the 2019 season might not get a chance to report to their team facility before their release.
Owners and the union agreed Monday to undergo daily COVID-19 testing for the first two weeks of training camp. Testing will decrease if the positivity rate is below 5% for players, coaches, trainers and other team staff members.