The NFL is threatening teams with possible suspensions for sideline personnel, including coaches, who do not properly wear face coverings during the pandemic.

Forfeiting draft picks also could be among disciplinary measures for failing to comply with league/players' union protocols.

Troy Vincent, who oversees NFL football operations, told the 32 teams Wednesday in a memo that "accountability" is required on the sidelines.

"We will continue to address lack of compliance with accountability measures that may also include suspensions of persons involved, and/or the forfeiture of a draft choice(s)," Vincent wrote.

"As you know, the gameday protocols agreed to with the NFLPA require that coaches and other non-player personnel wear appropriate face coverings at all times on the field and in the coaches' booths. ... While we saw significant progress in Week 3 with compliance from club personnel, wearing of protective equipment is still not universal, and this lack of compliance creates unnecessary risk to gameday participants."

The NFL has fined several coaches $100,000 for lack of compliance, including Sean Payton of New Orleans and Jon Gruden of Las Vegas, who both have said they contracted and recovered from the coronavirus. Teams were fined $250,000.

• Saints star receiver Michael Thomas returned to practice for the first time since injuring his ankle in New Orleans' season-opening victory over Tampa Bay on Sept. 13.

While Saints coach Sean Payton has yet to say if Thomas is on schedule to play this Sunday at Detroit, the fifth-year receiver ran through drills with a noticeable bounce in his step during the brief portion of practice open to reporters.

• Jets wide receiver Breshad Perriman will be sidelined a second straight game because of a sprained left ankle.

college football

Big Ten gets testing partner

The Big Ten Conference announced partnerships with Biodesix, Inc., and Quidel Corporation in its effort to perform daily testing on football teams this fall.

The conference will use Quidel Corporation's FDA-cleared SOFIA 2 SARS rapid antigen test daily on its football teams and staffs, and Biodesix will "oversee and manage the onsite testing of the Quidel antigen test while additionally validating with its droplet digital PCR (ddPCR) technology," per a release.

This process will apply to all student-athletes and staff involved in close contact sports. Daily testing for all football teams was mandated to begin Wednesday, but some teams, like Wisconsin, started earlier with resources already on campus.

• Southeastern Conference Commissioner Greg Sankey agreed to approve transfer waiver requests for players who switched schools inside the league.

Sankey announced the decision after previously saying schools should vote to change the rule forcing players transferring inside the SEC to sit out a year rather than ask for a waiver.

Sankey noted a change also is likely because of NCAA transfer legislation and the current coronavirus pandemic.


Rangers buy out Lundqvist

The New York Rangers bought out the contract of star goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, parting ways with one of their greatest players in franchise history after 15 mostly spectacular seasons.

In buying out the final year of the 38-year old's contact, the Rangers will save $3.7 million in cap space for next season. Lundqvist is now a free agent.

Since joining the team in 2005-06, Lundqvist has won the Vezina Trophy (2011-12), led the Rangers to the Stanley Cup Final (2014) and been selected to the All-Star Game five times. He also helped Sweden win gold at the 2006 Turin Olympics.

Lundqvist played in 887 games, posting a 459-310-96 record with a 2.43 goals-against average. The man referred to as "The King" was limited to 30 games this past season and had a 10-12-3 record with a career-worst 3.16 goals-against average.

wire services