Seahawks May Consider Alternative Training Camp Locations
Now that the NFL has wrapped up the draft and released the 2020 regular season schedule, the league has shifted attention to trying to re-open team facilities in an effort to conduct training camp on time in July.
As the league continues to develop contingency plans with hopes of playing a full season amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated reported several teams are already looking into out-of-state training camp alternatives due to concerns social distancing rules will prevent them from staging camp at their own facilities.
Among those listed by Breer, the Seahawks could be a franchise looking into such alternatives. Based on a recent phasing plan revealed by Washington governor Jay Inslee to begin opening the state, the "best case" scenario would be gatherings of 50-plus people in eight weeks. Other states such as California and New Jersey, among several others, will be very cautious pulling back restrictions.
This is problematic for NFL teams, as training camps would include 90 players, coaches, training staff, and other essential personnel. While it's unclear how things will look in late July, the current climate casts doubt that every state with an NFL team will allow 150 or more people to gather for football practice at that time.
What could this mean for Seattle? The organization won't rush into a decision to relocate training camp and still intends to host camp in Renton. But in an unprecedented situation, they need to be proactive looking into other options as well, which could mean states like Idaho, Montana, and Utah could be under consideration.
While this is pure speculation, it's also possible based on Inslee's plan that the Seahawks could conduct training camp elsewhere in the state of Washington. Some counties may be further along in the re-opening phasing by late July, allowing the team to practice remotely without leaving the state.
With roughly 10 weeks until training camp is scheduled to start, there's plenty of time left for these difficult decisions to be made. For now, the NFL will continue moving forward figuring out how to open team facilities safely without creating inequity for the 32 franchises in states with drastically different policies.
Once the calendar turns to July, however, if several states with NFL teams remain under strict social distancing guidelines with limited gatherings, then the league will either have to move some teams elsewhere for practices or postpone the season until all 32 teams can use their own facilities.