INDIANAPOLIS – Good news: The NFL is still planning to hold training camps on schedule this year.
Bad news: Teams cannot host those camps off-site.
That means the Colts will be returning to their team facility for training camp in 2020.
After being at Grand Park in Westfield for the last two years, COVID-19 is forcing the Colts to have camp at their own complex, which is located on the westside of Indianapolis, this summer.
This year was supposed to be the third of a 10-year contract for the Colts at Grand Park. The Colts said on Tuesday they expect to return to Grand Park for camp in 2021.
While camp at team facilities, under the current circumstances, is understandable, it still is unfortunate for fans who crave that in-person, and affordable, look at the Colts.
Chris Ballard has often said that he enjoys camp in front of fans, and thinks it helps the competition level as camp lasts around three weeks.
The NFL is mandating all teams to have camps at their own facilities this year. The league has not yet announced if fans will be able to attend any part of camps, although the Colts complex is not very conducive for fans to watch practice.
In trying to mitigate risk, the NFL has also announced that there will be no joint practices allowed between teams this year. The Colts hosted the Browns at Grand Park last year, and did the same with the Ravens in 2018.
This offseason has a bit of a 2011 lockout feel to things. Teams have not been able to hold any part of their spring offseason programs at their own facilities.
With those wrapping up in the coming weeks, it’s very possible that training camp will be the first time this offseason that players and coaches are together working in-person.
Frank Reich said earlier this week that his coaching staff would not be returning to the complex anytime soon, even though the Colts have slowly started to re-integrate employees back into their building.
Outside of the athletic training staff, and some players rehabbing, nearly the entire football operations department has been working from home for the last two and a half months.
The Colts 2020 preseason schedule is as followed:
-Eagles: Thursday, August 13th (7:00 PM, FOX 59)
-Redskins: Monday, August 24th (8:00 PM, ESPN)
-at Bills: Saturday, August 29th (4:00 PM, FOX 59)
-at Bengals: Thursday, September 3rd (7:00 PM, FOX 59)
Typically, teams report to camp 15 days ahead of their preseason opener, which would mean July 29 for the Colts.
Outside of 2017 (Chris Ballard’s first year as GM), the Colts have held camp away from their team facility every year since moving to Indy in 1984.