How Creative Do Jaguars Players Have to Get With Offseason Workouts With Facilities Closed?

John Shipley

In a normal offseason, Jacksonville Jaguars players would be trickling into the weight room at TIAA Bank Field around this time of the year, prepared to be peppered by the whistles and shouts from strength and conditioning coach Tom Myslinski and his staff. 

But 2020 has been anything but a normal offseason. And as a result, players have to trade in their past norms for more unconventional efforts to stay in shape ahead of the regular season, whenever that may begin.

Due to the outbreak of COVID-19 across the world and the United States of America, every NFL team facility has been closed off in an effort to prevent the further spread of the disease. For now, players have to find their own ways to maintain their physical conditions as they await the reopening of their facilities and wait to rejoin their teams. 

For cornerback Tre Herndon, who is entering his third season and started 14 games last season, this was primed to become a crucial offseason. And while the coronavirus has thrown a wrench in the exact plans, Herndon has been just the latest athlete to become creative in an effort to get his work in this offseason, turning the clock back to his past experiences. 

“We don’t really know when we are going to get back, so that timetable for me is just waiting for a word from anybody. During this time, we are staying at home," Herndon said Wednesday. "The gyms are closed. I’ve been able to go to parks, I’ve gotten our strength and conditioning staff to send me some bands to help me with those workouts. It’s back like the old days when you are a kid and going to the playground on the monkey bars doing pullups, pushups on the benches and abs."

While the overhaul of one's workout schedule could be frustrating, Herndon is opting to keep a positive mindset as he continues to train and prepare for the regular season as he and the rest of the NFL await for normalcy to return.

"I’m trying to keep myself upbeat any way I can to kind of substitute for missing the weight room, using bands for resistance and that type of things," Herndon said. "It has been kind of fun to find new workouts that I probably would have done back in high school before I was able to lift weights.”

Herndon said he isn't receiving workouts from the team to do at home, but they have facilitated his self-training by sending him bands as he constructs his own regiment throughout this phase of the offseason. 

In addition to going back to his roots and using some of the workouts e utilized long before he was an NFL player with access to a top-notch workout facility and staff, Herndon is also utilizing social media to create workouts, just another avenue of creativity in a time in which a player is forced to think outside of the box.

"I go on Pinterest. Instagram has people full of workouts, and I can kind of go in and make my own thing," Herndon said. "I know what I need to maintain as far as strength-wise and being able to be creative with my workouts and having those bands and stuff helps me out a lot. I’ve been on the stairs, running stairs, doing squat jumps on the stairs. It’s been a fun time for me.”

Players will eventually return to their facilities, and the halls of TIAA Bank Field will once again be filled with the sounds of weights dropping, players encouraging one another, and of course Myslinski's vocal orders. But until then, they have to get creative just as Herndon has. 

The facilities may close, but the work never ends. Despite a strange and unpredictable offseason, expect for players to continue to demonstrate this mantra.