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Miami Dolphins

Miami Dolphins showed Thursday how NFL business can go forward in age of coronavirus

Over six hours Thursday, the Dolphins introduced eight of their 10 free agent signings with a series of news conferences attended by more than a dozen members of the local media.

And they did so without putting a single person at risk to infection.

Welcome to sports coverage in the world of coronavirus, where video conferencing has given teams a way for fans to both see and hear from their high-profile employees.

Used the Zoom remote conferencing platform, the Dolphins connected their newest players — spread out all over the country — to reporters eager to chat for the first time.

“There’s definitely a first for everything, but it’s cool,” new Dolphins defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah said with a chuckle. “It’s a good way to interact with you guys if we can’t be there in person. It’s cool to meet you guys through, I guess Zoom, because this is my first time using Zoom ever.”

For others, meanwhile, it was old hat.

New center Ted Karras — who called in from his home in Massachusetts — is a regular Zoomer. He’s remotely finishing up his MBA at Indiana University, and had just watched a lecture before his news conference.

Running back Jordan Howard, who’s sheltering-in-place in Aventura during coronavirus, fulfilled his obligations for his liberal arts undergraduate degree through video conferencing last spring.

Added cornerback Byron Jones: “This is my second [time]. Just talking to a friend. He wanted to show me the app. ... It’s just a bizarre situation that we’re all in, but we’re all in it together, so hopefully we can collectively understand how important the situation is and understand to stay inside and not to spread this virus. Maybe in a couple weeks, but that’s – man, that’s life. Let’s figure it out.”

The NFL is figuring it out just like anyone else. The league has indefinitely postponed the offseason conditioning program, which for the Dolphins was supposed to start in April 20.

But what Thursday proved is the technology exists to do some work, if not all.

Meetings and playbook installation are probably the most important parts of spring football. Players can work out on their own. And now — assuming the platform’s security meets NFL coaches’ standards and the league allows it — the classroom work can go forward, as well.

This story was originally published March 27, 2020 10:40 AM.

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