NFL teams are not allowed to open their facilities yet, to anybody. We’re still a ways off before players might be able to return. But that hasn’t stopped all players around the league from getting some work in with their teammates. The Baltimore Ravens attracted some attention when Lamar Jackson and Marquise Brown were working with Antonio Brown.
Another AFC North team, the Cleveland Browns, has had a workout gathering of teammates, with third-year quarterback Baker Mayfield having invited his skill position players down to Austin to get some work in. the Browns are coming off of a disappointing year, with Mayfield sharing a lot of that blame.
Some pretty important components such as Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry are rehabilitating injuries that they had surgically repaired earlier this offseason, so it’s obvious that they were not down there, and probably wouldn’t have come anyway. But apparently there was some attendance.
Mary Kay Cabot wrote that some players such as Rashard Higgins, Damion Ratley, David Njoku, and new tight end Austin Hooper, accepted Mayfield’s offer to hold a workout of some sort, and earlier this week, some of them even shared on social media that they were down in Austin.
Hooper, a free agent signing, isn’t the only new face in Cleveland. They have two new starting tackles, as well—not to mention pretty much an entirely new coaching staff and a front office that is also significantly different, with Andrew Berry being brought back to replace John Dorsey. Kevin Stefanski was also hired as head coach, after Freddie Kitchens was ousted one year into his head coaching career.
While the NFL can regulate what teams do with their facilities, they can only have so much control over what players might do on their own, and this is far from a unique occurrence of players gathering to work out. I believe the Cowboys were under early fire during the beginnings of the pandemic for their players working out.
Some states around the country are beginning to scale back their stay-at-home orders, however, with the numbers over the coronavirus having begun to stabilize. Caution is still the approach, of course, in most places, but there has been some forward momentum with respect to some aspects of society returning to operational capacity.
The league is hoping that most teams will be able to begin the process of opening their facilities, albeit consisting only of players who are rehabbing injuries, very soon, but anything that takes the shape of on-field practice will certainly not happen this month.