A farm. A field. A canyon. A pool. Even a driveway. As NFL players wait for a return to normalcy before the 2020 regular season begins, they have had to get creative with how and where they train.
The ripple effects of these unprecedented times -- nationwide social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic and an unknown timetable for a vaccine -- have altered the professional sports landscape, and the NFL is no exception.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell authorized the reopening of all team facilities this week, in accordance with state and local regulations, although coaches and players who are not undergoing rehabilitation are prohibited from entering team buildings. While a handful of clubs took advantage of this allowance, states such as New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Virginia, Michigan, Illinois, Washington and California are still imposing heavier restrictions that affect a dozen team facilities.
These inconsistent regulations have also changed the responsibilities of NFL strength trainers, who have spent time remotely assessing the workout needs of players, including their access to resources, as well as acting as liaisons for online equipment purchases. NFL teams were permitted to provide each player with up to $1,500 worth of workout equipment. Nevertheless, players have had to find inventive ways to stay in shape.
Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins uses his parents' driveway as his outdoor gym. New York Giants wide receiver Golden Tate mowed a track into a steep canyon near his home. Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver James Washington designed a training regimen on his Texas farm.