Rats in the laundry? ‘Gross’ tubs? Some NFL teams don’t make the grade, players say

Laviska Shenault Jr. (10) and Josiah Scott (24) walk to the Jacksonville Jaguars locker room at TIAA Bank Field in 2020.
Laviska Shenault Jr. (10) and Josiah Scott (24) walk to the Jacksonville Jaguars locker room at TIAA Bank Field in 2020. Jacksonville players reported rats in the locker room and laundry hampers last season.
(Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Share via


That’s the word multiple Chargers players used to describe the hot and cold tubs at their team’s temporary practice facility in Costa Mesa.

Speaking of gross, though, those players should count their blessings they’re not in Jacksonville, where Jaguars players reported their locker room and laundry hampers were infested with rats for several weeks last season.

Or in Cincinnati. Players from the Bengals and Jaguars noted incidents of wives having to nurse babies on public bathroom floors because the teams’ stadiums don’t have family rooms.


With the NFL combine starting Tuesday in Indianapolis, here are five positions the Los Angeles Rams might focus on improving in the 2023 draft.

Feb. 27, 2023

Perhaps they all wish they were in Las Vegas, where the Raiders’ facilities are the envy of the league.

Or in Carolina, where the Panthers have a golf simulator in their newly renovated locker room.

All of that information, and much more, was included on the team report cards released by the NFL Players Assn. this week as part of an effort to help free agents make their decisions in the coming weeks.

With the NFL combine starting Tuesday in Indianapolis, here are five positions the Los Angeles Chargers might focus on during this offseason.

Feb. 27, 2023

Surveys were mailed to every player on a 2022 team roster, and 1,300 players responded. The NFLPA followed up with some qualitative questions for those players, then issued its final grades and ranked the teams based on player satisfaction in various categories.

Neither local team fared particularly well, with the Rams coming in 25th overall and the Chargers 30th. It is worth noting that many of the complaints might be resolved when the teams move into permanent training facilities. (The Jaguars, ranked 28th overall, are also working on a new, presumably rat-free, practice facility.)


Teacher’s pets

Minnesota Vikings owner Zygi Wilf, left, talks with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell
Minnesota Vikings owner Zygi Wilf, left, talks with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell during the first half of a wild-card game against the New York Giants on Jan. 15 in Minneapolis.
(Charlie Neibergall / Associated Press)

The Minnesota Vikings were the top-ranked team. They received an A+, A or A- in every category and didn’t rank below fifth in the league in any area.

“The Minnesota Vikings are a shining example of what is possible when a concerted investment is made in both staffing and facilities,” the NFLPA wrote.

The Miami Dolphins, Raiders, Houston Texans and Dallas Cowboys rounded out the top five.


Class clowns

Washington Commanders owner Dan Snyder poses for photos during an event to unveil the NFL football team's new identity
Washington Commanders owner Dan Snyder poses for photos during an event to unveil the team’s identity Feb. 2, 2022, in Landover, Md.
(Patrick Semansky / Associated Press)

The Washington Commanders were the lowest-ranked team. Among the player complaints were lack of warm water and poor drainage in the showers, an understaffed training room, no first-class seats offered on flights and not enough personal space in the locker room.


“Besides the strength coaches who received great feedback and grades as one of the best groups in the league, the rest of the club’s operations and facilities were rated by player respondents at the bottom of every single category,” the NFLPA wrote of the Commanders.

The Arizona Cardinals, Chargers, Kansas City Chiefs and Jaguars were ranked 31st-28th, respectively.


Chargers report card

Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert (10) participates in drills
Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert participates in drills at the team’s practice facility in Costa Mesa.
(Ashley Landis / Associated Press)

Yes, the Bolts rank lower than the Rats ... er, Jags.

In its overview of the Chargers, the NFLPA reports that players gave positive feedback about coach Brandon Staley. But only 50% of the Chargers players who responded to the survey believe owner Dean Spanos will invest in upgrading the facilities.

Treatment of families: D- (tied for 27th overall). The Chargers are one of 14 teams that don’t have a family room at the stadium, but they do offer day care on game days (11 teams don’t).


Food service/nutrition: F (29th). A whopping 0% of the players say they have enough room in the cafeteria.

Weight room: C- (tied for 27th). Also too small.

Chargers Chairman Dean Spanos asked new El Segundo neighbors, the Lakers, for some championship mojo as his team broke ground on new headquarters.

May 18, 2022

Strength coaches: A- (tied for 17th).

Training room: F- (tied for 30th). Repeating for emphasis: F minus! Yes, the facilities are temporary (the new El Segundo training facility is scheduled to be completed in spring 2024). But that’s no excuse for having hot and cold recovery tubs that multiple players refer to as “gross.” Also, no sauna and no steam room (the Houston Texans are the only other team that doesn’t have either).

Training staff: C- (tied for 30th).

Locker room: Not enough privacy, long wait for showers.

Team travel: B (tied for 15th). Lots of pluses in this category — plenty of legroom when traveling, no roommates on the road. The biggest complaint was the players and equipment use the same planes, which leads to long waits before takeoff.


Rams report card

Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay celebrates with players after a touchdown by running back Cam Akers
Rams players gave coach Sean McVay and his staff high marks.
(Marcio J. Sanchez / Associated Press)

No timetable for when the Rams will move to a permanent practice space, which is unfortunate because most player concerns had something to do with their temporary facility at Cal Lutheran in Thousand Oaks. But 95% of the Rams players who responded to the survey feel as though owner Stan Kroenke is willing to pay for upgrades. The players also gave high marks to coach Sean McVay and staff.

Treatment of families: D+ (tied for 24th). According to the NFLPA report, “respondents complained about a lack of communication.” Not a lot to go on there.


Food service/nutrition: D (tied for 22nd).

Weight room: C (tied for 25th).

Strength coaches: A+ (tied for first). Every player believes he receives an individual plan. That’s the best in the league.

The Rams are in negotiations to buy the site of the former Woodland Hills Promenade mall and build a team practice facility there.

Feb. 24, 2022

Training room: D+ (tied for 24th). The Rams are one of only four teams with no steam room. And the players feel the sauna and tubs are too small.

Training staff: A+ (tied for first). From the NFLPA report: “One of the most well-respected training staffs in the league. The players feel like they significantly add to their personal success.”

Locker room: D (tied for 25th). Only 61% of players feel as if they have enough space.

Team travel: B- (tied for 18th). No roommates on the road and some first-class seats, but only 72% of players feel they get enough leg space.


Other tidbits

The Raiders training facility is seen on Tuesday, June 23, 2020, in Alameda, Calif.
The Raiders Headquarters and Intermountain Healthcare Performance Center in Henderson, Nev., is the envy of players around the league.
(Ben Margot / Associated Press)


  • Most teams provide three meals a day for their players, but the Bengals and New Orleans Saints do not. Players in Arizona can get a boxed dinner to go, but at their own expense. The Cardinals apparently also are the only team that charges players for meals at the team facility during offseason workouts.
  • The Bengals and Denver Broncos are the only teams that don’t provide vitamins for their players.
  • The Raiders Headquarters and Intermountain Healthcare Performance Center is so impressive that multiple players from other teams indicated to the NFLPA that they want their facilities to be “more like Vegas.”

    Kansas City Chiefs mascot KC Wolf nearly died on the job. Since 1989, Dan Meers has portrayed the mascot, who already is entertaining at the 2023 Super Bowl.

    Feb. 9, 2023

  • The Carolina Panthers’ recently upgraded locker room, the one with a golf simulator, still earned only a B+ rating from the players.
  • The Bengals are the only team that doesn’t provide supplements for its players.
  • The Buffalo Bills share a nutritionist with the Buffalo Sabres.
  • The floors in the Cardinals’ weight room are said to be uneven and peeling.
  • The Bengals are the only team that doesn’t have charging outlets in players’ lockers.