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Ravens coach John Harbaugh calls parts of NFL's return protocols 'humanly impossible'

Ravens coach John Harbaugh calls parts of NFL's return protocols 'humanly impossible'

Earlier this week, the NFL announced plans with protocols of how teams should reopen facilities safely in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Count Ravens coach John Harbaugh as one person opposed to some of the plans.

On a radio show with Ken Weinman and Jason La Canfora on 105.7 The Fan’s Inside Access Harbaugh blasted parts of the league’s return policy, describing them as "impossible."

“The other part of the thing is how we’re going to operate in the building,” Harbaugh said. “Nobody knows. And the experts don’t know. I’ve seen all the memos on that, and I’ll be honest with you, it’s impossible what they’re asking us to do. Humanly impossible.”

The NFL informed teams that there will be no in-person minicamps and that they’re considering shortening the preseason to make a return to the field as safe and effective as possible.

“We’re going to do everything we can do, we’re going to space, we’re going to have masks, but this is a communication sport,” Harbaugh continued. “(If) we want to get out there and actually have any idea of what we’re doing on the field, we’ve got to be able to communicate with each other in person.”

Harbaugh added Weinman and La Canfora he clearly wasn’t happy at all with the plans, as evidenced by his tone, but raised concerns about how effective social distancing can be at an NFL facility.

“I’m pretty sure the huddle is not going to be six feet spaced,” Harbaugh said. “Are guys going to shower one at a time all day? Are guys going to lift weights one at a time all day? These are things the league and the PA need to get a handle on and need to get agreed with some common sense so we can operate in a 13-hour day in training camp that they’re giving us and get our work done.”

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The NFL and NFLPA have just over a month-and-a-half to get their plans right for a sensible return to play plan. Before then, however, the coronavirus pandemic will have another six weeks or so of spread, or containment.

“Now maybe we’ll know more in two months and they’ll be able to be a little more realistic and practical in what they’re asking,” Harbaugh said. “I expect that to be the case. I think good people, smart people are involved in this. But the way I’m reading these memos right now, you throw your hands up and you go, ‘Well, what the heck? There’s no way we can be right.’”

The Ravens’ Under Armour Performance Center is located in Owings MIlls, Maryland and was renovated in 2017. La Canfora remarked that the facility is one of the league’s best, so while the Ravens might be afforded the opportunity to execute the plan effectively, other teams might not be as lucky.

In a way, that could turn out to hurt the Ravens.

“We’ll be in a better position to do it than most, and we’ll do as good a job or better than everybody else — I 100 percent guarantee that, because we’ll be very thoughtful of it,” Harbaugh said. “But as a coach, you don’t want to hear that you’re limiting your operations as far as preparing your team and then you hear 10 other teams aren’t paying attention to the rules then there’s no consequence for that, and then they have an advantage on you. That’s what I don’t want to see. I just think it needs to be fair and it needs to be reasonable. I do believe they’ll find a way to do that.”

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NFL unveils new Oakley mouth shield to mitigate spread of coronavirus

NFL unveils new Oakley mouth shield to mitigate spread of coronavirus

Get your styling Ray-Bans ready for Sunday's this fall. 

In a partnership with Oakley, the NFL took another step on Wednesday evening in figuring out how to best go forth with the 2020 season in the safest possible way. The league unveiled its all-new mouth shields as the latest piece of technology to try and ensure football Sunday's won't be another item added to the long list of cancelations this year. 

With a large focus of the company's lifestyle products going towards an irrefutable style, it's no wonder Oakley decided to use the slick black Baltimore Ravens helmets to demonstrate. 

RELATED: NFL ANNOUNCES FINEABLE VIOLATIONS OF COVID CONDUCT

But in all seriousness, the impact these mouth shields can have seems to be more than ten-fold in an ever-changing society from a health and safety perspective. As one of the most contact-filled sports there is, professional football is going to have to adapt to life under a pandemic and these innovative new features are doing well to do just that. 

According to an NFL release, the mouth shields fit right inside the inner-linings of the facemask and sport skinny slits in it to enhance breathing capabilities while reducing air particle transmission.

It's still in the drafting phases of constructing the best possible helmet additions, and after players and manufacturers send some notes back to Oakley and the NFL, the mouth shields will surely improve. 

While it seems unlikely there is going to be a final version of the mouth shields that completely eliminate the chances of contracting COVID-19, it's going to be technology like this that will make the 2020 season a possibility. 

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Ravens WR Willie Snead: ‘Can you imagine the fall with no football at all? I mean, I can’t’

Ravens WR Willie Snead: ‘Can you imagine the fall with no football at all? I mean, I can’t’

Willie Snead IV can’t imagine what fall would look like without football.

As the COVID-19 pandemic has forced the NFL to adjust its offseason schedule, each team around the league scrambled to make changes to its offseason programs. 

By all accounts, the Ravens have made things as easy as possible for players to make the transition in Owings Mills to remain socially distant. Their hope is to make playing actual games — still not a guarantee — as easy as possible.

Despite challenges in Major League Baseball, there’s not a lot of doubt from people around the league about whether a season can happen.

“I know basketball is going,” Snead said on a Zoom call with reporters Wednesday. “I know baseball is going right now. But, when football comes around, can you imagine the fall with no football at all? I mean, I can’t. So, it’s going to be an adjustment without fans, especially in training camp, but I know once we start rolling on Sundays, I know the whole environment in our nation is going to change.”

Around the facility, players are constantly being reminded to keep their distance, wash their hands and wear their masks.

“I feel like, here, they’re doing a great job of just having everything...Locker rooms — we got separated lockers,” Marquise Brown said. “We got monitors to track how close we are to people. They’re making it as safe as possible, and that was something that everybody was skeptical about — how it would be. But once we got here, we were like, ‘This could work.’”

Both Snead and Brown made significant changes to their bodies in quarantine, as Snead dropped seven pounds and Brown added about 20. In quarantine, there was still a sense of normalcy as both players worked out for the upcoming season. 

RELATED: Mark Ingram sees COVID-19 issues with MLB, preaches positive mindset

At the Ravens’ facility, however, with all the precautionary measures in place, there’s no real escape from how different the 2020 season is set to be. 

“You have to take these tests every day,” Snead said. “Coming in, we had to wait a week to get in the building, which was different. But once we got into the building, I could just tell the Ravens organization in itself took that next step of making sure everybody is safe. Everybody is doing everything they have to do to make sure that we are all being safe, staying clean, and just making sure that we are taking care of ourselves, at the end of the day.”

With those specific measures in place the hope is to have a full, and as normal as possible, regular season.

“I know the NFL and the NFLPA took the best steps to make sure that we can have football this year,” Snead said. “And when it comes down to it, every guy has to hold themself accountable to make sure that they’re ready for Sundays, they’re healthy for Sundays. And hopefully, we can make sure this thing goes all the way.”

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