The Arizona Cardinals will be one of the first professional sports teams to begin opening up their facilities and making them available to staff this week. Darren Urban reported on the team’s official website, AZCardinals, that there will still be limitations in place when the facility reopens on Tuesday, including not allowing players at the site and only having a “limited number” of staff members in attendance.
The Cardinals are taking this step because the NFL previously told teams they could open their facilities once their home states’ coronavirus regulations allowed it. Even with some states starting to reopen, professional sports teams have been reluctant to unlock their facility doors.
The Cardinals’ team space will become at least partially operational as part of the NFL’s “Phase 1” plan for reopening. In this phase, coaches and players are still required to work remotely. The team confirmed most of its other staff will also continue working from home.
While Arizona is the first team to announce their plan, other NFL front offices are planning some kind of small reopening this week as well. The league told its member organizations that during this period, “no more than 50 percent” of their staff can return to the building. The number of employees who can work from those locations cannot exceed 75 people for any one team.
It appears even “Phase 1” is going to have several steps before the NFL is able to become fully operational. Teams whose facilities are in New Jersey — the New York Giants and New York Jets — and California’s franchises have not been given the go-ahead by their states to get back to work. While the Denver Broncos did get approval from the Colorado state government to open their building back up, they announced they will not do so before the week of May 25.
The Cardinals, like other teams around the league, announced they have held and will continue to hold virtual team meetings. These have allowed the players and coaches to go over offensive and defensive playbooks. It has also given new players a chance to meet teammates for the first time.
To that end, veteran defensive tackle Corey Peters told Urban that working from home hasn’t really been all that difficult for him. However, he understood it’s quite a bit more difficult for rookies and other players who are hoping to make a roster this season.
“It’s got to be really challenging because they are trying to learn entire new concepts… and the defense is a lot more complex than what you would normally see in college,” Peters said.