A large number of Dallas Cowboys are forming their own virtual training camp bubble before on-field practices start Friday, league sources told ESPN.
Players, coaches and staff will set up their summer home at the five-star Omni Hotel that is next to the Cowboys’ practice facility to help their fight against COVID-19. One official said he believed the majority of the team would be staying there. And with good reason: The set-up has everything the team would need.
The Omni is connected to Ford Center, the 12,000-seat stadium that is attached to the Cowboys’ facility. During the regular season, the Cowboys stay at the hotel on nights before home games at AT&T Stadium. They conduct their meetings at The Star and players receive treatment at their normal training rooms, before sleeping at the hotel.
Rookies and free agents were already at the hotel, ESPN’s Ed Werder reported.
The Cowboys are joining the New Orleans Saints as two teams that are setting up their own virtual bubbles in their cities to help prevent any potential spread of COVID-19. Both teams will be staying, en masse, at hotels near their facility or adjacent to them.
In a normal year, the Cowboys would be at the River Ridge Residence Inn in Oxnard, California, for more than a month for training camp.
With the ability to do something similar at the Omni, the Cowboys believe setting up their own bubble will help their preparations under new coach Mike McCarthy.
Because of league restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic, McCarthy did not have a traditional offseason program with a rookie minicamp, organized team activities or full minicamp, leaning only on virtual meetings. Since being hired in January, he did not address the full roster until last week.
Since the start of the testing process, the Cowboys had two players land on the reserve/COVID-19 list, wide receiver Jon’Vea Johnson and cornerback Saivion Smith, but both rejoined the 80-man active roster this week. The team has been pleasantly surprised at the low number of positive COVID-19 tests, sources said.
The Cowboys are not mandating players stay at the hotel, but they have strongly suggested it. And it is catching on.