CLEVELAND —Browns center JC Tretter is cautiously optimistic the NFL season—at least some version of it—will take place in 2020. He’s just not certain when it will start.
The newly elected president of the NFL Players Association, Tretter said Tuesday that the COVID-19 virus outbreak has hatched so many unknowns and created such a fluid situation it’s impossible to predict when football will be back—or what it will look like.
“This is a contact disease, and we play a contact sport,” Tretter said during a Zoom video conference.
Voted in by his peers just days before the global pandemic brought the sports world to a standstill in March, Tretter said he’s solely focused on the health of the league’s players, who have remained in virtual contact during an offseason none of them could have imagined.
Tretter is encouraged that some teams have reopened their facilities, but he acknowledged there’s a “long list of hurdles” to be cleared before players can get back together to prepare for a season that remains uncertain and strangely distant.
The 29-year-old Tretter, who graduated from Cornell with a degree in industrial labor relations, has been deeply involved in discussions ranging from scheduling to players with pre-existing medical conditions and other safety considerations.
Everything is in play. Nothing is higher on Tretter’s checklist than the well-being of players who are facing a ruthless, invisible opponent with an ever-changing game plan.
Although he’s a relative rookie when it comes to football diplomacy, Tretter gave several noncommittal answers Tuesday like a seasoned politician.
CHICAGO —Ken Burmeister, a college basketball coach for 21 seasons who took Texas-San Antonio to the NCAA Tournament and later guided Loyola of Chicago, died Tuesday. He was 72.
Loyola said Burmeister died following a fight with cancer.
Burmeister posted 72 wins at Texas-San Antonio from 1986-90. He led the Roadrunners to their first appearance in the NCAA Tournament, where they lost to Illinois in 1988.
Burmeister took over at Loyola in 1994 after working as an assistant at nearby DePaul and went 40-71 over four seasons. He was the Ramblers’ coach when they moved into Gentile Arena on campus in 1996.
Following his time at Loyola, he went on to coach for a season at Trinity University in San Antonio and at Incarnate Word for 12 years.