(AP) – Several NFL teams are reopening their training facilities Tuesday, while many are prohibited by government restrictions during the coronavirus pandemic.
Commissioner Roger Goodell gave the 32 clubs the go-ahead for limited reopenings as long as state and local municipalities allow them. Coaching staffs and all players except those undergoing injury rehabilitation are barred from the facilities in the first phase of the league’s plan.
With such states as California, New York, New Jersey, Washington and Virginia still under heavy restrictions, that immediately leaves nine franchises unable to use their facilities. The Raiders, headed for Las Vegas for the upcoming season, still have their training complex in Alameda, California.
The Ravens, Titans, Browns, Panthers, Lions, Eagles and Packers have chosen not to reopen Tuesday. The Jaguars have set May 26 for their reopening.
Among the teams taking advantage of using their buildings on the first day they are allowed are the Falcons, Cardinals and Colts.
“We’ve spent the entire quarantine period preparing to reopen,” the Colts said in a statement, “… but it will be very gradual and deliberate. And of course we’re taking steps to make sure we’re in compliance with state and local regulations, and NFL and CDC guidelines.”
That means primarily employees that must be in the office to do their jobs: people who need to access files that are only at the office; maintenance workers; trainers; and technology workers.
Those people will have their temperature taken when entering the building and must wear personal protective equipment. The Colts have set up one-way hallways with arrows on the carpet pointing to the proper direction, and there will be limits on how many people can be in rooms at the same time.
Coach Frank Reich was realistic about a full return to the training complex.
“The guys who have been hurt, who have been coming into the building, keep coming in and rehabbing and doing their thing,” he said. “Our trainers have done a great job of keeping up with everybody. I feel good about the progress that each one of our injured guys is making. Other than that, as soon as we can get more players in the building — we want that to make up for a little bit of lost time. The sooner we can get together and get out there working, the better it will be.”
The Steelers are doing a soft reopening Tuesday mainly for medical personnel and rehabbing players. They expect to ramp up use of their facility next week under league guidelines.
As the Cardinals reopen, only essential staffers will be involved, far fewer than the 75 allowed at the facility.
Goodell has extended virtual workouts for teams through most of June. All of the clubs normally would be having organized team activities (OTAs), which are voluntarily, at this time.