Mouth shields designed to minimize the spread of the COVID-19 virus are expected to be delivered to teams next week for a large-scale test drive, according to ESPN's Tim McManus.
There is no requirement for players to wear face shields yet, but safety protocol negotiations between the league and the players' union continue, and the NFL's medical experts are supporting the use of the equipment.
"That's certainly what we're going to encourage," said Dr. Allen Sills, the NFL's chief medical officer. "And we hope that we're going to land on a product design that's something that everyone would want to wear, because they'll see the value and want that additional protection without any detriment to performance."
The Oakley Mouth Shield, developed by NFL and NFL Players Association doctors and engineers, features plastic sheets that attach to the faceguard part of the helmet. The shield does have airways and openings.
"It is a significant blockage to transmission of droplets. There is no straight pathway through the face shield or visor for a droplet to be transmitted," said Dr. Jeff Crandall, head of the league's engineering committee.
To date, models have been sent to the Los Angeles Rams, Los Angeles Chargers, various player representatives, and equipment managers. Players have been most concerned about the visibility and breathability of the face shield.
NFL training camps are scheduled to open in late July.