The NFL has taken its next step in altering its calendar to prepare for a return to action amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The league on Wednesday decided to cancel two weeks of preseason games, a person with knowledge of the move told USA TODAY Sports’ Mike Jones. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to disclose the decision.
The first and fourth weeks of the exhibition slate will be eliminated. Schedules will be reconfigured so that each team has one home game and one away contest.
Pro Football Talk was first to report the news.
NFL teams are still scheduled to have veterans report for training camp by July 28. Canceling the first week of games provides a longer acclimation period as teams try to establish and implement protocols to mitigate exposure to and transmission of the virus, while also providing additional time for players to work on conditioning after conducting the offseason virtually.
Eliminating the final week, meanwhile, provides a greater buffer before the potential start of the season on Sept. 10.
The NFL last week canceled the Pro Football Hall of Fame Game, which had been set to kick off the preseason on Aug. 6.