Pennsylvania’s governor has issued an order that could possibly allow the Eagles to return to practice as early as next week.
But that’s far from guaranteed to happen in that time span.
Gov. Tom Wolf on Wednesday issued an order that will allow professional sports teams in Pennsylvania to return to practice or to play, without fans in attendance, if their county is in the yellow or green phases of reopening from COVID-19 precautions. Philadelphia is expected to move from red to yellow on June 5, so that’s the absolute earliest the Eagles could return to practice at the NovaCare Complex under state rule.
It’s very important to note that this order doesn’t guarantee that the Eagles will return to practice as soon as the state allows. By NFL rule, the Eagles won’t be allowed to practice until all 32 teams are allowed.
But at least this order from the governor clears one hurdle:
“(Professional sports teams) are allowed to practice or play in the yellow and green phases of reopening without on-site or venue spectators if the team (or league on behalf of the team) has developed a COVID-19 safety plan.
“Such a plan must be approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Health and include, among other requirements, testing or screening and monitoring of all on-venue players and personnel. Also, no fans or spectators may be permitted on interior or exterior venue property. Professional sports organizations are encouraged to contact the Wolf Administration to share their reopening plans and get them approved by the Department of Health.
This is the time of year the Eagles would typically be holding their voluntary Organized Team Activities leading up to a mandatory minicamp in mid-June. While it’s possible the Eagles will be allowed to hold a real minicamp in June, that’s still very much in question. The team has been holding a virtual offseason for several weeks, utilizing Microsoft Teams.
The good news here is that is seems like there is a growing possibility the Eagles will be able to hold a training camp in late July/early August at the NovaCare Complex in South Philadelphia. There are still more hurdles to clear before that and the importance of training camp is not lost on the team.
Last week, head coach Doug Pederson said he was preparing like training camp would be held on time. He also said it’ll be important for the Eagles to have an entire training camp (five to six weeks) to adequately and safety prepare for the 2020 season.
“I do think that a full training camp moving forward would prepare you,” Pederson said. “I do think you can get in enough contact in, I do think you can get enough padded practices in. You’d have to maximize those. At the same time, you’d have to be smart to get your guys ready and prepared for that opening weekend.”
The Eagles are scheduled to open their 2020 preseason on Aug. 13 in Indianapolis. They will open the regular season on the road against the Redskins on Sept. 13.
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