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In a Zoom call with reporters (h/t Tim Benz of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review), Heyward said the Aug. 6 preseason contest is “probably out” because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“We talk so much about safety,” he added. “Why would we want to expose two teams to an extra game a week early? Plus, I think there is a rule that says you need 47 days of activity before you get to the first game.”
“As much as I hate to say this, because we’ve all been looking forward to that, and I know how much it means to the Canton area and the Stark County area and really across the country, it’s a great, great event that we’ve been looking forward to. (But) having a crowd that size is highly unlikely. Certainly, it could not occur today. It would be very dangerous to do it today.”
Pro Football Hall of Fame president David Baker announced last week the museum in Canton, Ohio, was reopening after temporarily closing in March because of the pandemic.
Baker told USA Today‘s Jarrett Bell in May that the Hall of Fame is looking at five different contingency plans for the Cowboys-Steelers game and the enshrinement ceremony scheduled for Aug. 8.
One option for the game includes moving it to a later date in August if the NFL reduces its preseason schedule.
Per NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, the league and players association are discussing potentially playing two preseason contests.
While most teams will play four preseason games, the Steelers and Cowboys are scheduled to have five this year, with the Hall of Fame Game tentatively scheduled to be the kickoff event for the 2020 NFL season.