Ravens Players Staying Active, Face Uncertainty Amid Pandemic
That's been the goal of Ravens players, such as tight end Mark Andrews and safety as they deal with the realities of COVID-19.
There's still no timeline for when players might be able to return to the team's practice facility in Owings Mils, Md., because of the current ban on large gatherings.
As a result, the players are doing their best to stay in shape at home. It's also a nice distraction from the pandemic and remedy for boredom.
“Right now, the only thing different for our lives in the offseason is just that we can't really go out and be going to gyms and working out," said Andrews. "So, just staying active, going to work out by yourself or lifting weights by yourself at home and just enjoying family.
"Obviously, right now is a crazy, crazy time with this pandemic. [I’m] just finding time to work [on] our craft and realize that the football season will still come. Eventually, there's going to be football played, so [I’m] just staying ready.”
Clark, who inked three-year contract extension with the Ravens in February, is also finding other ways to pass the time.
"I'm just doing my home workouts," he said. "I have my little baby girl to keep me active, honestly. So, there's nothing really [boring] about that. [I'm] just staying active in the house, too – cleaning, cooking, playing card games.”
The NFL is forging ahead despite the challenges of COVID-19. The league year opened as planned on March 18 and there has been a busy market for free agency.
The NFL also plans to proceed with the NFL Draft in Las Vegas from April 23-25 without events for fans because of governmental restrictions with mass gatherings.
However, rookie camp and organized team activities scheduled for later this spring could be in jeopardy. The hope is the full-squad mandatory training camp starts on time in July.
NFL officials expressed optimism the regular season will start on time. The players are preparing for the worst.
“There's so much uncertainty during this time,” Andrews said. “You look ahead and you ask yourself, ‘Is there going to be football this season?’ I don't think anybody knows. So, for a lot of the guys on the team – I'm sure Chuck [Clark] as well – it's about focusing on family right now and then just listening to all your health officials.
“Knowing that everybody is in this together, everyone's going to help fight this virus together, so that's where our minds are going to be at right now. We're not sure what's going to happen, but we have to focus on the things that matter. That's family and social distancing and being smart.”
Andrews and Clark have been two of the Ravens' most productive players.
Andrews led the Ravens with 65 receptions, 852 receiving yards (852) and 10 receiving touchdowns last season, earning a trip to the Pro Bowl.
Clark finished with career highs in tackles (68), adding one sack, one interception, nine passes defensed and two forced fumbles while starting a career-high 12 games after taking over for the injured Tony Jefferson.
If the season does start on time, they'll be ready to play.
"It’s all about improving each and every year, and taking that next step, and having that in the back of your mind while you’re working out," Andrews said. "Knowing the things that you need to work on and improve on and then get better at the things you’re already good at. That’s what it’s all about, and that’s what we’re doing right now. It’s no different than any other offseason in that aspect.”