DETROIT – With stay-at-home orders effective across the country in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, professional football players have to find new ways to prepare for the upcoming season.
Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford told the media he exercises in a gym in his Atlanta garage, and he goes down the street to throw and catch.
For Lions’ Oday Aboushi preparing for the season meant getting out of New York City, where he lives during the offseason.
“(NYC) was crazy but it was docile,” Aboushi said. “You really only heard sirens. The city was really quiet. It wasn’t the vibe or energy. It was so dead. It was a very weird time. After a couple weeks, I was going stir crazy.”
Aboushi’s offseason home is in Manhattan, the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S. The first call Aboushi got from Coach Matt Patricia was of concern.
“He reached out to me once he realized NYC was (the center of) the pandemic. I really appreciated it,” Aboushi said. “Then, he reached out again to see if I needed any equipment. If I needed help.”
Aboushi was ready to leave NYC and headed for Rhode Island. His friend owns a gym there and told Aboushi he could have it all to himself.
The lineman says he works out six days a week for two hours each session. As for training with his teammates, the team virtually comes together weekly to discuss the playbook.
“It’s been good; we’ve been on Zoom calls together," Aboushi said. "We have meetings then break into offense and defense and positional stuff. It’s like a normal schedule as if we were actually in the building.”
Aboushi says he is itching to return to Detroit and get back to playing, and hopes that is sooner rather than later. In the meantime, he is cooking a lot and for this self-described “car guy,” he’s enjoying his sweet ride.