No basement blues: Goodell on hand for draft in Cleveland

CLEVELAND (AP) — NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will be leaving his man cave to announce this year's rookie draft class within shouting distance of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

The league announced some its plans for this year's three-day event in Cleveland, which will include some of the prospects being in person after last year's draft in Las Vegas was held virtually because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some of Cleveland's iconic downtown locations, including the Rock Hall, FirstEnergy Stadium and the Great Lakes Science Center, will be incorporated into the three-day festivities from April 29-May 1. Most of the events are are outdoors.

Goodell will be on hand to welcome the league's newest players — but from a short distance. Building on the success of last year's virtual event, when the commissioner read players' names from the basement of his home, other draft picks will participate remotely from around the country.

The league said the three-day event will be open to the public, and protocols from the experiences of hosting the Super Bowl in Tampa will be in place.

The league will again partner with state and local public health officials to ensure the safety for fans and participants. Fans will be required to wear face coverings and adhere to physical distancing.

A main stage will be built along Lake Erie to serve as the central hub for draft activities, including unnamed musical acts

“We are thrilled to be heading to Cleveland for the NFL draft, which has become one of the most highly anticipated events in sports” NFL executive Peter O'Reilly said.

The NFL will also use this year's draft to promote the COVID-19 vaccine.

This year's draft coincides with the the Cleveland Browns' 75th anniversary.

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More AP NFL coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

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