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Amid coronavirus outbreak, Ravens officials halt air travel, move to remote work

As concerns about the coronavirus pandemic grip the sports world, the Ravens announced Friday that they were immediately suspending business air travel and requiring “virtually all team personnel” to work remotely for at least two weeks.

“Public health and safety have always been top priorities for the Ravens," the team said in a statement. "We will continue to evaluate this developing situation and adjust as circumstances warrant.”

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On Thursday, the NFL canceled this month’s annual league meetings in Florida, pushing back decisions on playing rules, bylaws and resolutions until the league’s spring meetings in mid-May. As of Thursday night, almost half of the NFL’s 32 franchises had announced a complete suspension of travel for coaches and scouts.

The travel bans come at a particularly busy time in the league’s calendar. With the NFL draft less than six weeks away, March is typically jam-packed with pro days, where team officials and scouts assess college prospects. Some programs have already canceled their pro days, while others have postponed theirs until April.

The Ravens are also preparing for NFL free agency, which officially starts Wednesday. Pro Bowl outside linebacker Matthew Judon was designated with the franchise tag Friday, three days before teams are allowed to begin negotiations with prospective unrestricted free agents.

Under the NFL’s current collective bargaining agreement, offseason workouts at the Ravens’ Owings Mills facility can’t begin until April 20.

The Ravens’ announcement comes near the end of a week in which nearly every major sports league and sporting event in the U.S. has been suspended or canceled because of the new coronavirus. The NBA, NHL, Major League Baseball and Major League Soccer have suspended play, while the NCAA canceled all of its championships, including the men’s and women’s basketball tournaments.

In Maryland, the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association state basketball tournaments have been postponed, while the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association has halted its spring seasons.

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