The NFL released a detailed memo to all teams on Sunday outlining the procedures for the eventual return of employees, including players, to team facilities, and specifically how training camp will need to be conducted.
While Head Coach John Harbaugh said the Ravens will abide by whatever rules are put in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Harbaugh believes the guidelines – which call for social distancing pretty much everywhere in the building – need to be tweaked before doors officially open.
In an interview Thursday with 105.7 The Fan’s “Inside Access with Jason La Canfora & Ken Weinman“, Harbaugh said the new protocols are “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. “We’re going to do everything we can do. We’re going to space, we’re going to have masks. But, you know, this is a communication sport. So if we want to get out there and have any idea about what we’re doing on the field, we have to communicate with each other in person. We have to practice and I’m pretty sure the huddle’s not going to be six-feet spaced.
“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 [NFLPA] needs to get a handle on and needs to get agreed with some common sense so we can operate in the 13-hour day in training camp that they’re giving us and get our work done. That’s the one thing, you can tell by my voice, I’m a little frustrated with what I’m hearing there. And I think they need to get that pinned down a little better.”
Training camps aren’t scheduled to start until late July, as they typically do. Thus, much can change between now and then when it comes to COVID-19 and how best to handle it.
“Now maybe we’ll know more in two months and they’ll be able to be a little more realistic and practical in what they’re asking,” Harbaugh said. “I expect that to be the case. I think good people, smart people, are involved in this. But the way I’m reading these memos right now, you throw your hands up and you go, ‘Well, what the heck? There’s no way we can be right.'”
Harbaugh guaranteed the Ravens will do “as good a job or better” than other teams around the NFL in following the guidelines, but wants to ensure the NFL is making sure other teams are preparing under the unique rules accordingly as well.
“As a coach, you don’t want to hear that you’re limiting your operations as far as preparing your team and then you hear that 10 other teams aren’t paying attention to the rules and then there’s no consequence for that,” Harbaugh said. “And then they have an advantage on you. That’s what I don’t want to see. So I just think it needs to be fair and it needs to be reasonable. And I do believe that they’ll find a way to do that.”