Patriots players have only been at the Gillette Stadium facility a few days, but they are already fully emersed in the new protocols because of the coronavirus.
Speaking via video conference Wednesday, a few Patriots players explained what it's been like and acknowledged it's been "different."
“You’re definitely feeling your way around again,” linebacker Ja'Whaun Bentley said. “Things look different. Things are different.”
Some of the things have that changed are lockers in the locker room are spaced at least six feet apart and large team in-person meetings have been eliminated. Players reported last week for COVID-19 tests and could not go into the facility until they had three straight negative results.
"It’s completely different,” cornerback Jonathan Jones said. “Just from the protocols to get into the facility, they’ve gone to drastic measures to make sure everyone is safe. From the meals — the kitchen’s a different setup, the way we do that — to the meeting rooms. There’s a lot more places we’re going for meeting rooms so we have a lot more space. The locker room is spread out. “It’s a lot different from years past, but it’s necessary, and you can see they’ve gone to great extents to keep us safe.”
Like Jones, Bentley said everything that has been done has made him feel safe.
“This is Day 2 for us being in here, so we’re still feeling our way around,” he said. “But you do feel safe. You do feel like there’s a conscious effort made to make sure we feel as safe as possible, and procedures and things like that have definitely changed in more ways than one. So that’s definitely a positive thing.”
As much as the organization has done, eight Patriots have opted out as of Thursday morning and the deadline to do so is set for 4 p.m.
It's unclear if any more Patriots will, but there likely will be a handful more across the league.