Joe Judge is still holding out hope that Giants training camp will begin on time in late July at the team's facility in East Rutherford, N.J. But the longer this pandemic goes on, the less certain that seems.
So yes, contingency plans are being investigated.
But no, holding camp elsewhere likely isn't going to happen. For the Giants, they will likely open up training camp in New Jersey or not at all.
"The first thing we talk about in all these conversations is 'Are we 100 percent certain the players are going to remain healthy and we're not putting anybody at risk?'" Judge said on a video conference with the media on Tuesday. "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 the plane to go the other way."
That not only sums up Judge's feelings about the current situation, but all the problems associated with opening the NFL on time. Yes, there are areas of the country that haven't yet been hit as hard as the New York-New Jersey area has been by the COVID-19 pandemic. And yes, if New Jersey continues to restrict large gatherings - which would impact the ability of the Giants and Jets to hold training camp - there will be plenty of other states where they could go to practice.
But at what risk? Medical experts -- including Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the most visible member of the U.S. coronavirus task force -- have warned that those "re-opened" states could see a spike in COVID-19 cases by loosening restrictions too early. And travel remains an issue, whether players have to travel to any camp by plane or even in their cars, stopping at restaurants and hotels along the way.
And even if the Giants could somehow guarantee the safe travel of all 91 of their players, all their coaches and every member of their training staff, front office, etc., if they followed the recommendation of the experts, everyone would have to be quarantined for 14 days as soon as they arrived.
It's a logistical nightmare with potentially deadly consequences, and when it's all broken down it's hard to see how the NFL will be able to start on time, no matter where they are.
And it certainly sounds like all the contingencies involve risks the Giants won't be willing to take.
"When we talk about this we have to consider the big picture of what's going on," Judge said. "Look, I would love to have them in New Jersey right now. I would love to set up a remote campus if that's what's necessary. But getting them to the campus and making sure that while they're there they're not exposed to anything, we have to consider that as well."
For now, of course, the Giants are doing what every team is doing - holding their "virtual" offseason program. On Tuesday, the rookies joined the veterans for the first time. Judge, who is working out of his home in North Attleborough, Mass., said the NFL has told teams to plan to remain "virtual" through Monday, May 18, though obviously it's likely to continue a lot longer than that.
"Hopefully, in a perfect world we're all back in New Jersey training sooner rather than later," Judge said. "But we're planning for a lot of hypotheticals so we make sure that if they come up, we're not caught by surprise."
That's why members of the Giants' operations department are looking in to those remote camp possibilities, just in case the NFL comes up with plan that involves training elsewhere. But it's obviously not the Giants' preference, nor is it clear if they'd even be willing to train outside New Jersey at all.
"In terms of where we go, hopefully we're in the (Meadowlands) facility. That's really what we're pushing for," Judge said. "If the league determines something else, we'll see what's available. But I'd rather be in the facility than anywhere else."