The Baltimore Ravens are one of a handful of teams that decided to carry through with their plans to hold the mandatory minicamp. There were a number of teams that didn’t take part in what had been an annual thing for NFL teams before last season.
The Ravens wrapped up mandatory minicamp this week. The team was happy to get on the field this year instead of being restricted to virtual meetings like last season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Rookie J.K. Dobbins is excited about minicamp after having his introduction to the NFL come virtually as a rookie last year.
“Yes, definitely. It’s even good for the whole team, I feel like, because we all get to get more chemistry than what we had last year. Last year was my first year on the team, and I didn’t get to see some of the people until I got into the building in late July,” Dobbins explained.
“We talked on Zoom, but there’s nothing like in-person interaction. So, this definitely helps with that and just doing the plays— all that stuff. It just helps with confidence, knowing the plays. It’s a big difference, and I feel it.”
Being on the field does come with inherent risks since the team doesn’t have a 100 percent vaccination rate.
However, according to Ravens coach John Harbaugh, the team has a pretty high number of players vaccinated. “It’s a pretty high number. It’s pretty well above 50 percent, I would say, without giving the exact number,” Harbaugh said on Tuesday.
“I think everybody makes that choice for themselves. That’s what I told the guys last night, ‘It’s your individual decision. There are things that go with being vaccinated. There are things that go with not being vaccinated.’ So, everybody understands that, and guys will make those choices for themselves.”
Entering last season, some of the players had concerns about COVID-19 and the season because of their own health risks. Take defensive lineman Calais Campbell for example who suffers from asthma so he wanted to be sure to take precautionary steps to stay healthy. However, he isn’t forcing the idea of getting vaccinated onto others.
“I think everybody makes that choice for themselves. That’s what I told the guys last night, ‘It’s your individual decision. There are things that go with being vaccinated. There are things that go with not being vaccinated.’ So, everybody understands that, and guys will make those choices for themselves,” Campbell said.
Campbell was one of the Ravens players who contracted COVID-19 during the outbreak last season. He said he didn’t have any real issues but it was tough going though it because he didn’t feel like himself and it lingered for a while.
“Even when you are past the symptoms that everybody has, getting back into being a professional athlete, there’s a certain level of feeling you have when you’re just ready, and COVID-19 kind of made it a little harder to get to that good feeling. But I definitely feel a lot better now. I feel like I’m ready to go— go out there and dominate and have some fun— and I hope I stay that way,” Campbell added.
Campbell says he has been fine for the last couple of months. He is using minicamp as an opportunity to get back into the swing of things.