Ravens' John Harbaugh says NFL's current coronavirus guidelines are 'impossible'

Jamison HensleyESPN Staff Writer3 Minute Read

Riddick understands Harbaugh's social distancing concerns

Louis Riddick understands John Harbaugh's sentiments, saying it will be difficult for NFL teams to logistically enforce social distancing rules, but knows that if they don't, there won't be football.

Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh voiced his frustrations Thursday over the guidelines sent to the 32 NFL teams outlining procedures for the full reopening of their practice facilities, which were closed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

"I've seen all the memos on that, and to be quite honest with you, it's impossible what they're asking us to do. Humanly impossible," Harbaugh said in an interview with 105.7 The Fan. "So, we're going to do everything we can do. We're going to space, we're going to have masks. But, you know, it's a communication sport. We have to be able to communicate with each other in person. We have to practice."

The protocol requires physical distancing in the locker, meeting and weight rooms as well as cafeterias. Harbaugh said he is unsure how those standards can be realistically applied everywhere.

"I'm pretty sure the huddle is not going to be 6-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 [players' association] needs to get a handle on and needs 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. That's the one thing, you can tell by my voice, I'm a little frustrated with what I'm hearing there. And I think they need to get that pinned down a little better."

Training camps are scheduled to begin in late July, with the first preseason game, Cowboys versus Steelers in the Hall of Fame Game, on Aug. 6.

Harbaugh expects the sides to agree to guidelines that are "more realistic and practical" by that point.

"I think good people, smart people are involved in this," Harbaugh said. "But the way I'm reading these memos right now, you throw your hands up and you go, 'What the heck? There's no way this can be right.'"

Harbaugh guaranteed the Ravens will do as good a job as or better than any other team in adhering to the NFL's rules. He just hopes everyone else complies as well.

"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 and then there's no consequence for that," he said. "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, and I think they'll find a way to do that."

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