WASHINGTON — The Washington Redskins facility has been partially reopened just 3 months before preseason play is set to begin.
All 32 NFL teams are now allowed to open their team facilities but under heavy restrictions.
The only team members allowed in the facility are players undergoing rehab and the staff supporting that rehab.
"Everyone will need to wear gloves, masks, constant temperature checks, and everyone must maintain social distancing," said Redskins head coach Ron Rivera.
In a memo sent to the 32 teams on May 15th by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, teams must be “in compliance with any additional public health requirements in their jurisdiction, and have implemented the protocols that were developed by (league medical officer) Dr. (Allen) Sills and distributed to all clubs on May 6.”
The memo restricts coaches and most of the players from returning to their facilities.
“We don’t know when coaches will be allowed back in the building. Right now, the only players that are allowed in the building are the players going through rehab" said Rivera. “We have only eight or nine players that are currently in rehab.”
Here’s a list of some of the rules and restrictions Goodell sent to all 32 NFL teams:
- Until further notice from the NFL, teams may have no more than 50 percent of their staff in the facility, not to exceed 75 people. If a club wants to deploy staff to more than one location, all locations must implement the same health and safety protocols, and the combined number of employees at all locations can’t exceed 75.
- No members of the coaching staff can return to the facility under the first phase of reopening. “This is important to ensure equity among all 32 clubs,” Goodell wrote.
- No players may be in the facility other than those undergoing medical treatment or rehab. Strength and conditioning coaches participating in player rehab may continue that work in the facility. Otherwise, they are barred until the rest of the coaching staff is allowed to return.
- Members of the personnel, football operations/football administration staff, equipment staff, medical staff, and nutritionists can attend.
NFL facilities had been closed since late March due to the coronavirus pandemic. Coach Rivera, who says he just completed his first virtual meeting with the entire team a few days ago, is excited for the NFL to at least take a small step back to normality.
“This is an opportunity for people to get back to work. It’s a good sign and a good step,” said Rivera.
There could be some more changes as the NFL continues to open up. The masks on NFL helmets may be modified to include N95 or surgical mask material as a way to protect the transmission of the coronavirus. That includes the possibility of the entire helmet mask being covered according to Rivera. “They're (the NFL) trying to look at the possibilities to keep the players in a safe environment.”
The NFL season may have games without fans. The season is supposed to start on September 10. The Redskins season opener against the Philadelphia Eagles is a few days later on Sunday, September 13.
Coach Rivera recognizes there is a positive and negative to not having fans.
“It will be interesting. If you’re the home team, you would wish you had your folks in the stands. If you had to go someplace like a Dallas or a Philadelphia it might be refreshing there are no fans in the stands, that’s for darn sure.”