Texans adapt to NFL’s enhanced COVID-19 travel protocols

As the NFL instituted enhanced COVID-19 travel protocols this week, the Texans are one of the first teams to deal with the changes.



a group of football players on a field: Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) celebrates his 4-yard touchdown run against the New England Patriots during the first half of an NFL football game at NRG Stadium on Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, in Houston.


© Brett Coomer/Staff Photographer

Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) celebrates his 4-yard touchdown run against the New England Patriots during the first half of an NFL football game at NRG Stadium on Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, in Houston.


The NFL informed all clubs in an internal memo that teams are allowed a limit of 62 players traveling for games. That means some players on the practice squad won’t be allowed to accompany the team.

The Texans travel Wednesday to play the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving at Ford Field.

“To ensure competitive equity, the participating teams must submit a list of players that they wish to designate as eligible to attend and/or play (up to a maximum of 62 players) via the Smart Sheet that can be found at: no later than 4:00 pm New York Time on the day prior to Game Day,” the memo stated. “A player not listed may not participate or attend the game. This list will not be shared with the opposing team. This rule will take effect beginning with the Thanksgiving Day games and continue throughout the remainder of the season.”

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Texans interim coach Romeo Crennel said it’s an unfortunate development, but also a sign of the times during the coronavirus pandemic.

“One of the biggest things that it does, it cuts down the number of players that can travel,” Crennel said. “When we first started, we were traveling everybody just in case something happened. Now with the intensive protocol, we’re not traveling as many. Like the practice squad guys, we used to take them all, but now we can’t take them all. We just have to adapt. 

“You have to explain to the players why some of the things are happening because they don’t understand why the NFL says, ‘We need to this. We need to do that,’ and things that happen during the course of the year. But I think they all understand that for the safety of the players and the safety of the league that we have to comply.”

Meanwhile, additional mask requirements have been instituted for road trips.

“All members of a Club’s Traveling Party will be required to wear N95 or KN95 masks on the team plane and on the team bus,” the memo stated.

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