Players Face Challenges With Fitness Level

Ed Kracz

Will Parks has always prided himself on being the hardest worker on the field, in the weight room, no matter where he was or what he was doing.

Like every other American, and in societies across the globe, the new Eagles safety is trying to come to grips with the new and frightening norm brought on by the spread of COVID-19.

“The fact that gyms and parks are closed is kind of driving me nuts right now, but I think just being cautious,” said Parks on a conference call Tuesday with Philly media. “It’s a terrible time in the world right now. We all have to be extra careful. People are dying out there because of this. It’s a serious condition. You have to take measure by any means. Having the ability to adapt is the biggest thing we can do right now.”

Adapting for athletes unaccustomed to closed gyms and flying around the country to work out with trainers and fellow athletes won’t be easy.

Eagles defensive tackle Javon Hargrave, on a conference call with Eagles media on Monday, said he has bought some items for his apartment to help him train, including a fitness bike and weights.

“Just trying to find ways to get right without trying to expose myself,” said Hargrave. “I’m just finding ways to grind, eating healthy still and just staying at the weights and grinding.”

Once life returns to normal, whenever that may be, and athletes such as NFL players begin reporting for duty, strength and conditioning may take on a whole new meaning. Not everyone’s physical fitness levels will be where they should be, that is only logical.

“Whether that’s training different in the house or being somewhere where there’s absolutely no one else around, you definitely have to do things differently,” said Parks, who has been in Philadelphia since March 9 and has no plans on going anywhere anytime soon.

“I have a couple weights at the crib, try to hit the playgrounds, use the multi-bars, different things.”

Parks said he recently went to Philadelphia’s Veterans Memorial Park, where he was able to use some of the outdoor objects “to get my body going again.”

After that, Parks said he got right back in his car and went right home again.

“It sucks, it definitely sucks not being able to do the things you normally do, but I think I’m doing a good job as far as adapting,” said Parks.

There’s even more of an adaptation coming for free agents and incoming rookies everywhere.

The likelihood that spring workouts, such as OTAs, are not likely to occur, will make it more challenging for newcomers to get acclimated to the playbook as well as their new teammates and environment.

“Guessing it would,” said Hargrave when asked if it could take longer to get acclimated to everything. “We have to wait for camps to get acclimated. I’m a fast learner, so don’t think it’ going to be too hard to learn. I guess it would take a little longer, but I’ll be ready for the season.”

It remains to be seen exactly who and how many will be.

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