The NFL has communicated a detailed protocol for limiting the spread of the coronavirus in facilities and stadiums. One NFL coach isn’t a fan of the widespread rules and regulations.
“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 Thursday on 105.7 The Fan in Baltimore, via Aaron Kasinitz of PennLive.com. “We’re going to do everything we can do. We’re going to space, we’re going to have masks. But, you know, it’s a communication sport. So if we want to get out there and have any idea what we’re going to be able to do, we have to communicate with each other in person. We have to practice.”
The protocol mandates physical distancing in locker rooms, meeting rooms, and elsewhere in the facility. Eventually, however, guys will be playing football — which entails the exact opposite of physical distancing.
“I’m pretty sure the huddle is not going to be six feet spaced,” Harbaugh said. “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 [NFL]PA needs to get a handle on and needs to get agreed with some common sense so we can operate in a 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.”
Harbaugh hopes that more clarity will come before training camp opens.
“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, ‘What the heck? There’s no way this can be right.’”
Whatever the rules, Harbaugh wants to be confident that everyone is complying.
“[A]s a coach, you don’t want to hear that you’re limiting your operations as far as preparing your team and then you hear 10 other teams aren’t paying attention to the rules,” Harbaugh said. “I just think it needs to be fair and it needs to be reasonable.”
The rules are fair, given that they apply to everyone. Harbaugh would seriously question whether they are reasonable.