Well, you can forget about the Gainesville Eagles or even the Tallahassee Birds this summer.
The Eagles are staying put after Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf gave the OK on Wednesday to allow sports teams in the state to begin training at their facilities. That can happen as soon as next Friday, June 5.
Wolf made the return feasible provided that no on-site fans or spectators are allowed in and the team, or NFL itself, as developed a safety plan to keep everyone as safe as possible from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Even then, the plan must be approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Health and include, among other requirements, testing or screening and monitoring of all on-venue players and personnel.
Wolf’s ruling had been pretty much a foregone conclusion after New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy a day earlier, had opened his state for sports teams, which was good news for the Sixers and Flyers because both of those Philly teams train in South Jersey.
Florida was one of the first states to reopen after the COVID-19 pandemic forced stay-at-home orders the past two months, and Florida’s, governor, Gov. Ron DeSantis, rolled out the welcome mat to any team that wanted to go to the Sunshine State to train this summer.
The Eagles won’t be taking up Gov. DeSantis on his offer.
Several NFL teams, including most recently the Packers and Jaguars, opened their team facilities already.
Per NFL rules, however, coaches are not permitted to return to the facility just yet, nor are players who are not rehabbing an injury.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell does not want any team to have a competitive advantage, so the league will wait until all states have given the all-clear to open their facilities.
California is currently the one state where facilities have not been allowed to open, which affects the NFL’s Rams and Chargers.
Gov. Gavin Newsom may be close to reopening his state to sports teams.
Should California open up, it would pave the way perhaps for players and coaches to return to their facilities by the end of next week.
Once that happens, there could even be a minicamp in some shape or form, with dates as early as June 15.
That could be a bit quick, but there seems to be more optimism than ever before that teams could at least be able to open training camps in mid to late July.