Doug Pederson, speaking from quarantine at his South Jersey home, emphasized Monday that he believes the NovaCare Complex could not be any safer.
Pederson wouldn’t comment when asked specifically if he believes he contracted COVID-19 away from the Eagles’ South Philadelphia training complex, but it did sound that way.
“This is something I don’t necessarily want to comment on for myself or speculate on anyone else obviously,” Pederson said. “I’m just going to reiterate the fact that I feel very good about the safety of our building and the protocols that we have in place. That’s one thing I do know, and going through this has reinforced that for me at this time.”
The Eagles announced Sunday that Pederson tested positive for the virus. With training camp continuing in Philadelphia, Pederson remains separated from the team indefinitely.
Although quarterbacks coach Press Taylor was sent home because he had worked in close quarters with Pederson, there haven’t been any other reports of positive tests in the NovaCare.
Three veteran players, Lane Johnson, Nate Gerry and Jordan Mailata, went on the COVID reserve list before reporting to camp. Of those three, only Johnson is known to have contracted the virus.
“I’m very comfortable and confident that the protocols we have in place at the NovaCare are in the best interest of the football team and all those who enter the building,” Pederson said. “It still is a very safe environment. One of the things we all need to learn and what I need to learn taking away from this is that obviously we need to protect ourselves when we’re in the community, away from the building.”
Pederson said he’s in constant communication with his players, coaches and staff, and in that way this period is not unlike the spring, when Pederson led daily team activities through Zoom calls.
Pederson said he has no symptoms but is quarantining himself from his family members until he tests negative and is cleared to return to work.
“I’m feeling great,” he said Monday afternoon on a Zoom call. “Energy level is high, really no symptoms whatsoever. I’m very fortunate because this virus attacks (all) people a little bit differently.”
Although Pederson is able to run team meetings and meet with players virtually, he can’t be on the field, and starting Tuesday, teams are allowed to hold non-contact, non-padded walkthroughs.
Duce Staley, who holds the dual title of running backs coach and assistant head coach, is running these practices.
Staley, Pederson’s teammate here in 1999, has been on the Eagles’ coaching staff for 10 years.
“Duce being assistant head coach, he assumes my role, the day-to-day activities in the building,” Pederson said. “He and I talk every single morning, I give him sort of my thoughts on where I’m leading and what I’m thinking and then he carries that message forward. He’s done a great job so far and will continue to.”
But make no mistake about it … this is still Pederson’s team.
“One of the things I learned during the offseason is that I can still run the team virtually and that’s what I’ve been able to do today and yesterday, holding staff meetings, team meetings, things of that nature,” he said.
How long will Pederson be out?
It’s impossible to tell.
“I’m not going to speculate on a timetable for me,” he said. “Treat it just like players. When I’m back I’m back.”
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