And in the spirit of “competitive fairness”, he believes that all facilities should reopen at the same time, although the loosening of restrictions by some states could theoretically allow some facilities to open earlier than others.
“I advocate a competitive fairness approach in our game, and it’s that everyone has an opportunity,” said Tomlin in a conference call with reporters on Saturday. “Our game is extremely competitive. This is one of the things that makes football at this level so attractive to our fans. I am determined to preserve and protect it, and therefore all teams that have the ability to start on the same foot are a core part of that. “
The NFL recently sent a memo to all 32 teams which defined the protocols for the gradual reopening of the team’s facilities. The league hopes teams will be ready to implement the first phase of this plan by May 15.
In the memo obtained by ESPN, there was no mention of NFL policy which previously stated that no facility could reopen unless the 32 facilities are eligible to do so.
“There are two things we are committed to respecting, and that is the National Football League’s comprehensive approach to football operations and the importance of competitive fairness in our game,” said said Tomlin. “We were all able to start on the same footing in this regard. Then, also, by respecting our local government and the directives which they prescribe individually in terms of safety at work.
“These are the two key elements for us. We are in an attentive state of mind, and we will be ready to leave when the two boxes are checked. “
The first group allowed to enter the team’s facilities would be no more than 50% non-player staff and up to 75 people per day. The only players allowed to return would be those who rehabilitate injuries before the closings.
The second reopening phase would allow players to return, the memo said, but it is unclear whether they would be allowed to practice on the field.
Masks and a social distance of at least 6 feet will be required for all facility workers, and gloves are highly recommended, according to the memo.
The Steelers hosted a virtual rookie mini-camp this weekend, assembling their draft class and undrafted free agents into online classes starting Friday for team and position group teaching.
“Assessing their ability to absorb information, their retention of information is probably the most significant difference from working in this setting,” said Tomlin. “It is much more difficult to get feedback, to have an idea if someone is receiving the information when you are working remotely than when you are dealing with someone in an intimate space. It is not about the material or the amount of material we can donate; these are the tools to assess what they learn, how they learn and to reinforce what we give them is the most difficult of the circumstances. “
The first phase of the virtual offseason is scheduled to end on May 15. Teams can resume on May 18 and continue until June 26.