Reopening Jacksonville: Jaguars can open facility at TIAA Bank Field Tuesday with limited staff

TIAA Bank Field, photographed Thursday, April 30, 2020. (Bob Self/Florida Times-Union/TNS)
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By John Reid The Florida Times-Union (Jacksonville, Fla.) (TNS)

The Jaguars can reopen their facility at TIAA Bank on Tuesday for the first time since it was closed mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

It won’t be business as usual, though.

No players may be in the facility other than those undergoing medical treatment or rehabilitation work, according to a memo sent by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to all 32 teams last week. Strength and conditioning coaches participating in player rehab may continue that work in the facility.

Jaguars coach Doug Marrone and his staff are prohibited from returning because the league is restricting all coaches to resume working at facilities for now to ensure equity for all 32 franchises.

Marrone said he does not know if they will be allowed to conduct a mandatory minicamp next month or if their training camp will start on time in July.

But he wants to be prepared for any scenario.

“I don’t see the league doing anything unless it’s equal,” Marrone said. “But I do think it’s an advantage to get our equipment people back, trainers back here.

“So we’re preparing for all that stuff. From a logistical standpoint – the fields have to be done the right way, and our field crew has to be out there. I can see them with the coaches and players staying back and everyone else going back until everything becomes a level playing field.”

Marrone, like the rest of the league’s other 31 head coaches, will continue to work remotely by conducting their off-season program through video conferences and virtual lessons with players at least until May 29.

Tight end Tyler Eifert said last week the virtual offseason program has been unlike anything he’s done during his seven seasons in the NFL.

“With all these virtual meetings and installing plays on FaceTime and Zoom, I think the hard thing about is there’s so much uncertainty with your training,” Eifert, who signed a two-year, $15.5 million free agent contract with the Jaguars in March after spending his entire his entire career with the Cincinnati Bengals.

?If we’re not going to report for OTAs and we have to be ready to go for camp, you don’t want to peak too early or be going too hard for too long.?

According to Goodell’s memo, all NFL facilities must be in compliance with public health requirements and they must have implemented protocols developed by the NFL’s chief medical officer Adam Sills.

Teams cannot have more than 50% of their personnel (and a maximum of 75 people) inside the facility at the same time. If a franchise wishes to spread out over multiple locations, the maximum number of people allowed still stays at 75 over all locations combined. Front office personnel, administration staff, equipment people, medical and nutritionist staff are allowed.

Also, teams must report any instance of COVID-19 to the league.

“This first phase of reopening is an important step in demonstrating our ability to operate safety and effectively, even in the current environment,” Goodell said in his memo.

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