In the National Football League, it’s back to business as usual but obviously with some adjustments as league members try to navigate their way through the COVID-19 pandemic still spreading across the globe. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers welcomed quarterbacks and rookies into One Buc Place this past week and it’s been a slightly different feel to the start of camp.
The biggest name that has walked into the building so far is quarterback Tom Brady, who has made all the headlines throughout the off-season. Brady joined the Buccaneers via free agency after spending his entire career playing for the New England Patriots. Winning six Super Bowls with the Patriots has predictably elevated the expectations for Tampa Bay this upcoming 2020 season along with the of weapons Brady will have at his disposal.
Brady ran practices with skill players at Berkeley Prep School in Tampa and wanted to develop timing with some of Tampa Bay’s receivers, including Mike Evans and Cameron Brate. Now comes the next big step for Brady and the Buccaneers and that’s bringing all 80 players together into camp which remains the biggest challenge to date with every NFL club. Figuring how to social distance and run practices with one of the most contact sports around.
The current off-season has been like no other for all professional sports and especially for the Buccaneers, who made some blockbuster type moves ahead of the 2020 season. Tampa Bay signed 6-time Super Bowl champion quarterback Tom Brady and decided to move on from 5-year starter Jameis Winston, who has since signed with the New Orleans Saints. The Buccaneers also added one of Brady’s most trusted pass catchers in tight end Rob Gronkowski, who steps into a crowded position that already features Brate and OJ Howard.
Reports out of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ camp say that the franchise is looking to have Raymond James Stadium filled at 25 percent capacity for the 2020 season. With the stadium able to fill up to 65,000 fans, that number would be around 17,000 people allowed at the games. The NFL has announced that fans who attend games will be required to wear masks.
Many stadiums are planning attendance at games of 25 percent or less. The New York Giants and New York Jets home field at MetLife Stadium, in New Jersey, announced the Jets and the Giants will be playing to an empty stadium in 2020. Many of the NFL teams have formulated plans on how they will allow fans to safely attend games.
Andy Villamarzo can be reached at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @avillamarzo.