FRISCO, Texas – This happens every year. The rookies get together, chat about various things from their college football teams, to music, to other sports such as the NBA.
They're all trying to figure out exactly where to go as they're still rather new to The Star. On the agenda for this day is taking official headshots, getting fitted for helmets and other equipment.
Again this happens every … only usually it's early May, right after the NFL Draft. And the only "masks" that have been worn are attached to the helmets.
Yes, this is certainly different times with different rules and guidelines that we never even knew before COVID-19 arrived and turned things upside down.
However, the NFL is carrying on, albeit several changes that are clearly visible around NFL headquarters, including Ford Center at The Star.
Arrows on the ground to limit the foot traffic in certain directions, plus "six-feet apart" reminders are displaced all over the ground. The team held a brief meeting in the stands of Ford Center, with neon tape across every two seats, making sure the players spread out while they watched an educational video.
And of course, the masks make it somewhat difficult to learn the new faces, but some of the rookies wore masks with their new number at the bottom.
Getting their headshots took the most time, so there was often a lengthy line that nearly spilled out onto the field.
New special teams coordinator John Fassel, who quickly made friends in his short time at The Star before the quarantine period, was having some fun with the rookies. Actually, he was making sure they soaked in the moment, offering to take the cell phones from the players to give them a selfie pic of their experience.
"Are you excited?" Fassel asked one of the rookie running backs. "You're about to earn the Star. This is a big day. Here, you want a picture?"
Fassel spent about 10 minutes snapping pics of various rookies, including one of CeeDee Lamb and Trevon Diggs together.
But this Monday wasn't just about the rookies only. Nearly 45 players in total showed up, including some of the veterans who have been in the building rehabbing prior injuries.
Players such as Sean Lee, Tyrone Crawford, Anthony Brown and Blake Jarwin all returned to The Star. On Tuesday, more of the veterans will follow, to not only take their daily COVID-19 test, but all get started on preparations for the season.
While some of the details regarding the start of camp are still being ironed out, it appears the players will spend the next 2-3 weeks working on conditioning, going through meetings with perhaps some light field work before practice begins in mid-August.