Last Updated on June 12, 2020
Coronavirus has had a significant impact on sports around the world, but the NFL was able to conduct free agency and the draft virtually. Sure, the virtual offseason put a strain on teams in many regards, but the league is figuring out how to make things work.
Unfortunately, that won’t be so easy when teams return to facilities and begin to prepare for next season. Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh is calling the NFL’s coronavirus guidelines “humanly impossible” to follow.
“I’ve seen all the memos on that, and to be quite honest with you, it’s impossible what they’re asking us to do. Humanly impossible,” Harbaugh said in a recent radio interview. “So, we’re going to do everything we can do. We’re going to space, we’re gonna have masks. But, you know, it’s a communication sport. If we’re gonna get out there and have any idea of what we’re doing on the field, we’ve got to be able to communicate with each other in person. We have to practice.”
NFL Testing Guidelines:
- Daily screening and testing for all players who enter the facility.
- Six feet between lockers and all furniture in the building.
- Virtual meetings whenever possible.
- Masks are to be worn at all times except when performing physical activities.
- Maximum of 15 players allowed in each training session.
- Disinfect equipment daily.
Harbaugh points out the obvious here. Football is a contact sport involving huddles and close contact on every single play. It’s not a game built for social distancing like baseball or golf. Add in the fact that teams are going to be bringing 90 players to training camp and it’s quite clear that these guidelines are going to be difficult to follow.
“I’m pretty sure the huddle is not going to be six feet spaced,” Harbaugh added. “Come on. Are guys going to shower one at a time all day? Are guys going to lift weights one at a time all day? These are things the league and the (union) need to get a handle on and needs to get agreed with some common sense so we can operate in a 13-hour day in training camp that they’re giving us and get our work done.”
The league is trying to prioritize safety as coronavirus cases and hospitalizations continue to ramp up in places like Florida and Texas. Thus far, the offseason has proceeded smoothly, but there’s no way to conduct training camps in a virtual setting. Clearly, the NFL still has some kinks to work out.