NFL Cancels 2020 Preseason

The Seahawks and the rest of the NFL will prepare for the 2020 regular season without playing any preseason games. 

CenturyLink Field
All was calm at Century Link Field on Sunday night. I knew that the scene here would be completely different the next night, so I wanted to photograph the fully lit stadium in all its quiet glory.

The Seahawks and the 31 other NFL teams are reporting to training camp this week following an offseason that was anything but business as usual.

Teams didn't have the benefit of offseason workouts due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and to account for the longer time players will need to get ready for game action, the NFL announced Monday it is canceling the 2020 preseason.

Seahawks season ticket holders will be refunded or receive a credit towards their 2021 season ticket renewal for the two scheduled home games against the Las Vegas Raiders and Los Angeles Chargers. Seattle had also been scheduled to play at Minnesota and at Houston during the preseason. Instead the Seahawks will spend the next six weeks preparing for their regular-season opener at Atlanta.

"The NFL in 2020 will not look like other years," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell wrote in a letter to fans. Players and coaches will be tested for the virus regularly, including every day for a while. Preseason games have been canceled. Everyone in the team environment must follow rigorous health and safety protocols to keep themselves and each other safe. When there is a positive test, strict regulations will be enforced to isolate and care for that individual and to contain the virus before it spreads. Even the sideline will look different. And, state and local health guidelines will help determine whether fans will attend the games. These adjustments are necessary to reduce the risk for everyone involved."

While the absence of a preseason might not be much an issue for established veterans, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll noted earlier in the offseason this month that a reduced or eliminated preseason could hinder the development of young players, particularly rookies who miss any time due to injury, or undrafted free agents battling to make the team.

"The number one thing that changes is the opportunity for young guys to show themselves," Carroll said when asked what a potentially shortened preseason could change for the team's development. "When a young guy gets hurt, it really hinders him more so than an experienced player, and that's because he misses the developmental time. So if that were to take place—even though I'm extremely impressed with our young guys and how they have learned and applied themselves to this point—still there just might not be enough time to really give them the chance, so you might be behind in that area a little bit. We'll take that as a personal competition and we'll try to overcome that, but I would think that would be an area where you would see some guys whose opportunities—maybe the (undrafted) free agent doesn't get as many shots as he needs to show—those last two games are so crucial for a young guy trying to make the club, so I would think that would be the area of focus."

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