The Giants and Jets are not playing football in New Jersey just yet, but an announcement by Gov. Phil Murphy on Tuesday opened the door for the two teams to return to their practice fields and shared stadium at some point.
In an announcement on Twitter, Murphy said pro sports teams in New Jersey can “return to training and even competition — if their leagues choose to move in that direction. We have been in constant discussions with teams about necessary protocols to protect the health and safety of players, coaches, and personnel.”
The Giants and Jets have both been holding offseason workouts virtually since April after their offices and training centers were shuttered with the start of the coronavirus restrictions in mid-March.
The Giants said in a statement they will begin the process of reopening their facility next week.
“With today’s announcement by the governor, we are finalizing our plans to reopen the Quest Diagnostics Training Center,” the team said. “We will continue to have as many employees as possible working remotely. For employees who need to return to work at our facility, we expect to begin that process next week, and we will do so in a systematic and safe way that adheres to the state’s guidelines and NFL protocols.”
A Jets spokesman issued a statement shortly after the policy was announced:
“We are working closely with Governor Murphy’s office, the league and our medical staff to establish prudent, health and safety measures for our staff and players. Based on those guidelines, we will begin to open our facility using a phased approach at a time that is the most practical for our operations.”
The NFL allowed teams to begin populating their facilities two weeks ago where it was allowed under local guidelines, which excluded the Giants and Jets and about eight other teams at the time from doing so. The league also has strict rules on who is allowed at team facilities, limiting access to no more than 50% of the staff or 75 people in total. Only injured or rehabbing players are allowed in the facility and the only coaches allowed to work in the buildings are strength coaches involved in rehab. Healthy players are currently unable to be at their team’s facility.
The NFL implemented such rules to maintain a competitive balance until all 32 teams can open their facilities.
What Murphy’s announcement does provide, though, is an opportunity for both teams to hold some form of training camp at their facilities later this summer. The Giants and Jets are both scheduled to begin their camps in late July. It also allows for the regular season to begin on time in early September at MetLife Stadium.