The Eagles will re-open the NovaCare Complex and Lincoln Financial Field with a limited number of employees beginning Monday, June 8. Although coaches are eligible to return to the facility, the Eagles have decided to continue their virtual offseason program remotely. Head Coach Doug Pederson is pleased with the progress made by the team thus far. All NFL players are not yet allowed back to their respective team facilities except for rehab purposes. Coaches will also continue their work from home.
"Over the last 12 weeks, our organization has remained connected, united, and focused on our preparations for the upcoming season," the team said in a statement.
"We have been planning for and will begin a phased approach of gradually returning a limited number of employees to the NovaCare Complex and Lincoln Financial Field beginning Monday, June 8 in compliance with the state and local guidelines, NFL policies, and in consultation with medical experts. While the majority of our employees will continue to work from home, the virtual collaboration over the past three months has proven that the contributions and value of our employees is not dependent upon their physical presence at the facility.
"Coaches and players will continue their preparations for the 2020 season remotely, with the goal of returning to the facility for Training Camp in July.
"We look forward to taking this step to re-open our facilities. We will remain in close communication with the league and public officials as we monitor developments, and will follow all necessary guidelines and precautions to maintain a healthy and safe environment for our employees."
NFL teams were allowed to return to their facilities starting May 6, but Philadelphia remains under a stay-at-home order that will expire Friday. The Eagles are not allowed to have more than 100 people combined at a single time at the NovaCare Complex and Lincoln Financial Field.
The Eagles closed their facilities due to the coronavirus pandemic on Friday, March 13. Three days later, the NFL and the NFLPA announced the indefinite delay of offseason programs, changes to travel plans for free agency, and restricted access to all club facilities. The league also canceled the plans to hold the NFL Draft in Las Vegas.
On April 23, the league conducted the first-ever virtual draft as teams conducted business remotely utilizing the Microsoft Teams platform to submit choices. The first round of the NFL Draft set a record with all other sports postponed or canceled, averaging nearly 16 million viewers. The NFL took advantage of the captive audience and raised nearly $7 million for coronavirus relief efforts.
Following the NFL Draft, on April 27, the Eagles kicked off their nine-week virtual offseason program. During this time, Pederson instilled his two main themes for the 2020 Eagles – "trust" and "stronger together."
"Once the 2019 season ended, I hit the reset button, and I thought about what my new messaging points are going to be moving forward for the coming season," Pederson said. "Quite honestly, it kind of fits in line with where we are with this pandemic and sort of self-quarantined at home and working from home, virtual workouts, virtual meetings, things of this nature. The two messaging points are this: One is the word 'trust.' And I think the word 'trust' really fits where we are right now. Our guys and our coaches, our trainers, our strength and conditioning staff, we need to trust each other through this process.
"The second one is 'stronger together.' I think through this process we are going to become stronger together. We are going to be united coming out of this pandemic, whenever it is and when we get back together, guys are going to be extremely motivated, extremely excited. For me, it was putting those two phrases together – 'trust' and 'stronger together' – those have been my two messaging points to the team."
Under new Director of Sports Performance Ted Rath, the Eagles provide a workout plan for each of the players who then send in videos to the training staff. Despite the physical separation, the Eagles continue to award a workout winner each week, as Pederson has done in recent years at the NovaCare Complex. Each week, the team is shown a highlight of the workouts to see how hard everyone is training.
"I'm extremely pleased with where the guys are," Pederson said. "You have to find creative ways to keep the guys engaged because I feel like, after a while, and not being together and constantly looking at your phone or your tablet can kind of wear on you a little bit. My hat's off to the team, to my coaches, for finding creative ways to stay connected through this time."
It's because of the success of the offseason program to date that Pederson decided to continue it virtually through its conclusion on June 25.