Updated June 2, 2020 - 5:19 pm
The Raiders’ first training camp as new resident of Las Vegas will be at their new team headquarters in Henderson, the club confirmed on Tuesday.
The Raiders’ decision to conduct camp at the Intermountain Healthcare Performance Center had been contemplated for weeks, but it became official on Tuesday when the NFL told its teams that all training camps this summer will be held at their team facilities.
While many teams already do that — the New England Patriots, New York Giants and Denver Broncos among them — others teams go off site for their training camps.
The Raiders, Los Angeles Rams, Dallas Cowboys and Buffalo Bills are among the teams that have gone away for camp.
With the COVID-19 pandemic still creating concern, it makes sense that the league would want teams to conduct training camps in as controlled an environment as possible.
The date for this year’s Raiders’ training camp has not been announced, but it typically begins in late July.
In a memo NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell sent to the 32 teams on Tuesday, he said:
“Based on the medical assessment of current risk factors, we have determined that two adjustments to the planning for 2020 training camps should be made and communicated to all clubs today.
“First, all training camps are required to be held at the club facility (which includes your home stadium). The only exception will be if a club can demonstrate, to the satisfaction of a joint NFL-NFLPA medical task force, that it would not be feasible to conduct at their club facility.
“Second, in order to mitigate exposure risks, we have agreed that no joint practices will be permitted this year during training camp. We believe that each of these steps will enhance our ability to protect the health and safety of players and your football staffs and are consistent with a sound approach to risk management in the current environment.”
The Raiders have held their training camps in Napa, California, since moving to Oakland in 1995. While they are making their move to Las Vegas official this year, the original plan this summer was to remain in Napa for training camp.
But with COVID-19 forcing so much change to the NFL’s offseason schedule, the Raiders were considering moving training camp from Napa to their new practice facility in Henderson even before word of an NFL madate to do so.
Construction of the Raiders’ Intermountain Healthcare Performance Center has pressed on throughout the COVID-19 crisis, with completion on target for later this month.
The facility has a field house that will field one-and-a-half indoor football fields, so the Raiders will be protected from the harsh summer conditions of Southern Nevada.
Per COVID-19 social distancing requirements, the NFL closed all team facilities in March but have begun the process of opening them back up to non-football staff members over the last few weeks.
However, coaches and players have not been cleared to return. As a result, teams have been conducting virtual offseason programs rather than the normal in-person OTA’s at team facilities. The virtual offseason was extended last week by at least two weeks by Goodell, taking the offseason program to the middle of June.
Goodell also expressed optimism that coaches would be allowed back to work at team facilities this week, although there was nothing new on that front on Tuesday.
In normal years, teams would conclude their offseasons in June with a three-day mandatory minicamp. While there is some hope that can still be the case this year, there is also the possibility teams might not gather in full until training camp in late July.
Goodell said the league and its players were all in agreement.
“The NFLPA was strongly in favor of these two decisions, which were made to limit exposure risks by avoiding the need for clubs to clean and maintain two facilities, by limiting the need for players and club staffs to travel to another location (sometimes located at a considerable distance from the home facility), and by limiting travel and contact between players on different clubs in the context of joint practices,” Goodell said in the memo. “These steps are being taken for the 2020 preseason to address the current conditions and are not expected to be in place in 2021.”