The NFL on Thursday informed the league’s 32 teams that coaches will be allowed back at team facilities on Friday, with the expectation that the Seahawks will be among the teams whose coaches will soon be back at their workplaces.
Coaches had been kept out for now as part of the league’s policy regarding the COVID-19 pandemic but will now be allowed back if teams have received necessary state and local permission.
According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, the league anticipates that only the 49ers will not be able to get into their facility tomorrow.
As of Thursday morning, however, the Seahawks were not yet among the teams that had gotten local approval to return to their facility. But the expectation is that the Seahawks will get that approval soon. The NFL Network reported that not all teams expect to have coaches back in buildings Friday, with some waiting until next week, and some unclear if they will have coaches back at all. The NFL Network reported coaches will be tested for COVID-19.
King County remains in Phase 1 of the state’s reopening plan which allows for only essential business to be open. The County has applied for a modified Phase 1 of the Safe Start plan that would allow for limited openings of more business, and which would likely clear the way for the Seahawks to have coaches return to their facility.
In an attempt to keep things equal competitively, the NFL has stated that ideally it will not move ahead with any plans regarding coaches and/or players getting back in facilities — and later, getting back on the field and practicing — unless all 32 teams could do so at once.
To that end, the NFL has stated it will work alongside teams with state and local authorities as the league takes steps to have the league reopen to regular business.
Rapoport’s tweet stated that the 49ers are “aware and supportive’’ of the plan for other teams to move back into facilities even if they cannot. 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan confirmed this in comments to media Thursday, saying he did not see any real advantage one way or the other until players would be allowed back.
The NFL has been allowing teams to have up to 75 employees in team facilities but no players or coaches (other than players who are in an active physical rehab program). The NFL also is instructing teams that up to 100 employees will be allowed back in buildings as of Friday.
With coaches not allowed in team facilities, coaches have instead been working remotely, with teams such as the Seahawks holding virtual meetings with players the last few weeks as part of the league’s offseason program. Teams would typically be holding on-field practices during the program.
The NFL’s decision Thursday is seen as another step in a positive direction toward the league being able to hold training camps in July and proceed on course with the 2020 season.
However, the expectation remains that teams will not be allowed to do any on-field work during the offseason program, with any on-field workouts not being held until training camps.
NFL teams typically end their offseason programs with a one-week minicamp in mid-to-late June that includes three days of on-field practices.
The window when teams could hold minicamp is June 15-26 but that could be held virtually.
Rapoport reported on the NFL Network Friday that there remains some thought that players will be allowed back in buildings before the end of the of the offseason program even if on-field work is not allowed.
The Seahawks would likely begin training camp July 29. Seattle’s first preseason game is Aug. 13 against the Las Vegas Raiders at CenturyLink Field and teams can open training camps 15 days before their first game.