This is going to make Las Vegas Raiders coach Jon Gruden very sad.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said on Thursday that at least some of the offseason team activities will be done virtually in 2021 because of coronavirus guidelines, as was the case in 2020.
Goodell didn’t have a lot of details because, of course, the situation is fluid, but he conceded that there will be some virtual aspects of the offseason.
Asked how close to normal the 2021 season will be: "I wish I knew the answer to that." Adds that he doesn't know when -- or if -- the league will reach "normal."— Kevin Seifert (@SeifertESPN) February 4, 2021
This is no surprise, of course. The hope is that at least part of the 2021 season will be played without masks on the sidelines and with fans in the stands, but clearly Goodell is taking a cautious approach.
Even though he had to know this was coming, the news has to hurt Gruden’s heart. He has mentioned often how much not being around his players in a normal setting bothers him.
While this is not ideal, it is reality and the fact is, the virtual offseason worked for the Raiders and most teams. Also, whether Gruden likes it or not, the players have been pushing for this and it wouldn’t be a surprise if the NFL offseason is a virtual experience for the foreseeable future.
Roger Goodell saying "virtual is going to be a part of our lives" in regard to this offseason and beyond. The players want less in-person work in the spring. Sounds like the league is amenable to that.— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) February 4, 2021
Life has changed for everyone and the NFL is no different. Let’s just see how much normalcy comes back to the league in 2021.