FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — Hayden Hurst had a feeling that he would be on the move this offseason.
When his agent told him that he was going to be joining the Falcons, his reaction was sheer excitement.
“Seeing what [Austin Hooper] did last year catching 75 balls and being targeted 100 times, my eyes lit up,” Hurst said.
But this offseason hasn't been like most. The coronavirus has restricted travel and, as of Tuesday, discontinued NFL-related physicals.
Why does that matter? Typically a player would have to pass a physical by a club's medical doctor before a team could announce a free-agent signing or trade, but that is no longer the case.
Hurst's trade happened right before the restrictions were put in place.
“I was able to get my physical and make it official pretty quickly,” Hurst said.
But for players who could be moved from this point forward, there are reportedly provisions in player contracts, known as coronavirus clauses, stating that failed physicals will result in forfeited signing bonus money.
“I would imagine that’s going to have to be put in contracts now, which is kind of crazy to think about, but that’s the world we live in and things happen like that,” Hurst said.
The coronavirus has completely shut down the sports world and with no clear indication of when a sense of normalcy could resume, many are starting to wonder if the NFL season will still start on time.
“I don’t see how it could," Hurst said. "Maybe if they cut the offseason program, which I think they might have to, maybe it starts on time. I don’t know. That’s an interesting question. I don’t know how they’re going to approach it, obviously, this is a very unique situation that we find ourselves in right now. It wouldn’t surprise me, to be totally honest.”
As of right now, the NFL Draft will go on as scheduled, beginning on Thursday, April 23 -- in a studio instead of under the glitz and lights and crowds of Las Vegas that had been planned. After that point, everything is up in the air.
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