The New York Giants have begun the process of scouting potential training camp sites outside of their team facility in East Rutherford, New Jersey, should it be their only option this summer.
At this point, it's a long shot and simply being considered an emergency option. Coach Joe Judge said on a conference call with reporters that the team's football operations department is "mapping out a lot of different scenarios" even though in a perfect world they would prefer training at home.
One of the hardest-hit areas in the country by the coronavirus pandemic, New Jersey and New York still have stay-at-home restrictions in place.
"In terms of relocating, our ops department is doing a great job right now mapping out a lot of different scenarios in terms of, if for some reason we have to relocate, making connections around the area, around the country, as to whatever we may need to do," Judge said.
The Giants and the rest of the NFL currently are operating remotely during a virtual offseason. Their rookies joined veterans in online meetings for the first time Tuesday.
Judge said he doesn't believe that will change this spring. He expects to continue working virtually.
"We're waiting on direction from the league in terms of making a decision on that," he said. "Hopefully, in a perfect world, we're all back in New Jersey training sooner than later. But we're planning for a lot of hypotheticals and, if they come up, we're not caught by surprise."
This likely isn't what Judge envisioned when he was hired as the Giants' coach earlier this year. But this is the hand he has been dealt, and he's been busy making contingencies for months. The first-time head coach spoke last month of having different color-coded calendars made for potential league schedules.
Judge said he's keeping everything in perspective considering what is going on around the world.
"The first thing we talk about in all these conversations is, 'Are we 100% certain the players are going to remain healthy and we're not putting anybody at risk?' I have a tough time right now asking a player to fly across country from California when I probably wouldn't be the first one most willing to throw my two sons on a plane if it were the other way around," he said. "So when we talk about this we have to keep considering the big picture of what is going on.
"Look, I would love to have them in Jersey right now. I would love for the setup of a remote campus, if that were what is necessary. But getting to the campus and making sure while we're there we're not exposed to anything, we have to consider that as well."
It's not out of the realm of possibility that Judge's first game as Giants coach will come without fans. Some other sports have outlined plans to play this spring and summer in empty stadiums and arenas.
The NFL still has time. Training camps don't normally open until late July.
Still, this isn't ideal, but it's not changing the current preparation.
"I don't think anyone wants to play in front of empty stadiums. The fans are really a huge part of this game. Playing in front of stadiums, that is where a lot of the juice and energy comes from on a weekly basis," Judge said. "But we don't have fans at practice and we prepare them to play every day without people watching. These guys have to go out and they'll be prepared for whatever the situation is.
"But truly, we want the fans there. It would be a different atmosphere."
So, too, would training camp outside of East Rutherford.