BALTIMORE (WJZ) — In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, major professional sports leagues have had to pause or suspend their seasons. But, the NFL for the most part, has remained largely unaffected. As we inch closer to dates on the league calendar that would have seen the beginning of spring workouts, we may begin to see cancellations of various NFL events.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell issued a memo to teams on Tuesday night implementing league wide rules directing clubs to close their facilities to all personnel with some exceptions. These rules will be in place until further notice according to ESPN’s report.
That leaves Ravens fans, and NFL fans at large, wondering if the league’s season is going to be impacted in any way due to the coronavirus pandemic. While the start of both training camp and the regular season are still months away, organized team activities (OTAs) are scheduled to start in early April for team’s with new head coaches and late April for team’s with returning head coaches.
Baltimore Ravens team president Dick Cass joined the team’s podcast, The Lounge, on Tuesday and he said that he doesn’t believe fans will see players at the team facility any time soon.
“I think it’s very very unlikely they are going to see any players at our facility in Owings Mills this spring. I just don’t think the OTAs are going to happen at all,” said Cass. “I hope I’m wrong. I’m hoping we can get some players in in June, but I’m doubtful of that.”
“The next big date of course for the players will be the opening of training camp,” continued Cass. “We’re all hopeful that will not be delayed.”
Training camps usually don’t open until late July, and the hope would be that the coronavirus spread has been slowed to the point where activities can begin to resume by then. But, Cass admits, he doesn’t have answers and all he or anyone can do is be hopeful.
“I have no answers, no one has any answers. No one in the federal government and Governor Hogan doesn’t. Nobody really knows how long this is going to go on,” said Cass. “You can look to countries like China and South Korea. They can see light at the end of the tunnel. But, they did things that our country did not do. So, maybe it will take us a little bit longer. But, you have to be hopeful.”
In the midst of all of these questions about team workouts for players already in the league, there is still the looming question of what to do with the NFL Draft which is still scheduled to go on from April 23-25. Team employees currently aren’t allowed into the facility and draft prospects aren’t allowed to make visits which makes preparation more difficult. For Cass, he’s hopeful team employees may be able to return to the facility in a month in some capacity, but he’s not sure how likely that is.
“We’re continually monitoring the whole situation, we’re hoping that in four weeks people can come back in some capacity, that’s the week of the Draft by the way, but I think that’s unlikely,” said Cass. “The reality is, we cannot go back to our offices until we get the all clear signal from Governor Hogan or the federal government that it’s safe to do so.”