It is in the best interests of every organization under the current circumstances to provide the safest workplace environment possible for all of not just their players, but their coaches and general employees as well. We’ve seen what can happen to an organization in the MLB. NFL teams will be looking to avoid the same fate, especially considering they have twice as many personnel to account for.
It takes a lot of effort to prepare a team’s facility to accommodate the safety requirements of doing football business while an infectious disease is spreading around the country—including hot spots in many cities where NFL teams reside.
The Cleveland Browns intend to be the best team in the league when it comes to taking every precaution possible in ensuring that their players, and their organization as a whole, is able to successfully navigate the Covid-19 pandemic through the 2020 season.
To that end, for example, the team broke down its weight room and moved it to an indoor practice field to provide more space for players to work out. The weight room was installed with additional lockers to provide more distancing for players to dress and store their personal belongings.
“Our main locker room once housed 90 players. Now, it houses 40 – every other locker with wall-to-ceiling Plexiglas really separating those lockers”, said vice president of player health and development Joe Sheehan. “We have moved the overflow of our locker room into our existing weight room. We moved our existing weight room into the field house. We have put about 40 lockers in the previously existing weight room and moved our weight room of about 9,000 square feet out into our field house of about 20-yards worth of setup to really improve airflow and allow us to maintain our social distancing in small groups while guys are in the building”.
These are pretty smart precautions that frankly it sounds like other teams who are equipped to do so should be considering. But perhaps many of those teams choosing to carry more than 90 players are doing so in part because they intend to use both their practice facility and their stadium.
The situation with the Marlins has everyone concerned, and the NFL like the MLB is not conducting its season in an enclosed space. “In regards to the bubble, I think really the NFL and the PA have really put together a comprehensive series of protocols that are going to allow us to [implement] what we have built to give us the best chance to be successful and play football this fall”, Sheehan said.
The NFLPA has approved the Infectious Disease Emergency Response plans of all 32 teams, which means that no teams will be restricted as to how many players they can have at the facility at one time if they have 80-man rosters.