The 2020 NFL schedule will be released a few weeks later than usual. But NFL executive Jeff Pash told reporters on a conference call Tuesday that the league intends to start on time and play a full season, despite the coronavirus.
"On the season itself, our planning, our expectation is fully directed at playing a full season, starting on schedule and having a full regular season and a full set of playoffs, just as we did in 2019," Pash said.
Pash conceded that the plan could change.
"That's our expectation," he said. "Am I certain of that? I'm not certain I'll be here tomorrow. But I'm planning on it, and in the same way, we're planning on having a full season."
Pash added that the league is being advised by NFL chief medical officer Dr. Allen Sills, NFLPA chief medical officer Dr. Thomas Mayer, outside consultants in infectious diseases and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
Due to COVID-19, NFL team facilities remain closed and offseason programs are suspended indefinitely. The draft will be conducted April 23-25 as scheduled, but it will be done remotely with team officials forced to comply with social distancing guidelines that require people to be separated by at least six feet.
Pash also revealed that the schedule release will be pushed back from mid-April to no later than May 9.
In addition to home and away games against the Packers, Vikings and Lions this season, the Bears are slated to host the Saints, Buccaneers, Texans, Colts and Giants; and visit the Falcons, Panthers, Jaguars, Titans and Rams.