Jacksonville Jaguars, other NFL players advised by NFLPA not to work out together this offseason due to COVID-19 concerns

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JACKSONVILLA, Fla. — Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew will not be leading any more voluntary workouts with his teammates at the Episcopal School of Jacksonville’s football stadium as he did last week.

That is because the National Football League Players Association medical director Thom Mayer is advising players to avoid working out with teammates in private workouts before training camp opens next month to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

?Please be advised that it is our consensus medical opinion that in light of the increase in COVID-19 cases in certain states that no players should be engaged in practicing together in private workouts,” Mayer said in the statement. “Our goal is to have all players and your families as healthy as possible in the coming months.”

The NFLPA’s advisory comes after some NFL players have tested positive for COVID-19, which included two Tampa Bay Buccaneers players testing positive and an assistant coach.

Reportedly, there were players from the Houston Texans and Dallas Cowboys, including running back Ezekiel Elliott, who have tested positive for the virus.

ESPN reported Saturday that up to 10 teams had reported positive coronavirus tests for at least one of their players.

There have been no reported cases of any Jaguars players testing positive for coronavirus.

The Jaguars established an Infectious Response Team last month, which is responsible for implementing the franchise’s preventive measures to help avoid the spread of the virus. The IRT is responsible for administering multiple temperature checks for all employees, ensuring all social distancing guidelines are followed and auditing cleaning protocols.

The Jaguars’ offseason program was virtual-only and coaches were not allowed to put players through on fieldwork. The offseason mostly involved classroom instruction, and video conferencing meetings.

Coach Doug Marrone admitted last week that he still had not finalized the starting date or assigned practice times for next month’s training camp. If it was normal circumstances for Marrone, all of his scheduling for training camp would be done by now, especially with the offseason program completed.

However, Marrone must wait until the NFL finalizes all procedures and safety protocols that teams will have to follow throughout the training camp to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“Everyone wants to make sure we get this thing right,” Marrone said. “I’m trying to get the schedule; that’s the safest way for us when we return.”

Some of the safety steps the NFL outlined last week that teams must follow before players can return to team facilities include having six feet of space between each locker with players and coaches wearing masks at all times in the facility.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, suggested last week the NFL might need to play in an isolated environment like the NBA plans to do in Orlando, Florida, starting July 30 to avoid the spread of COVID-19.

But the NFL plans have not changed for all 32 teams to play in their stadiums for the 2020 season.


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