As the NFL and NFL Players Association try to hammer out an agreement on the protocols for training camp, the preseason (if there is one), and the regular season, testing continues to be the one factor that will most dramatically impact the execution of the final plan.

It needs to be readily available. It needs to be reliable. It needs to be fast. For now, there’s no guarantee that all three boxes will be checked.

The powers-that-be have believed for months that, by August or September, rapid-result testing based on saliva or a finger prick will be available. Last week, the the director of the National Institutes of Health expressed optimism that a test producing results in less than an hour will be available before football season begins.