Mark Ingram Jr. on NFL’s return: ‘We need to find the safest way’

The Baltimore Ravens star is dishing on the upcoming season, the NFL's support for BLM and his partnership with Gatorade

Mark Ingram #21 of the Baltimore Ravens celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Miami Dolphins during the second quarter at Hard Rock Stadium on September 08, 2019 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Mark Ingram Jr. is ready to tackle the 2020 season.

The Baltimore Ravens running back, 30, revealed that he is prepped for the return of NFL training camp in a few short weeks—but also wants to maintain sense of caution due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“I’m listening to my team, the NFLPA [National Football League Players Association] and the league, and follow updates from them,” he told theGrio on Wednesday while discussing his partnership with Gatorade‘s Beat the Heat program. “You know, I think everybody wants to play, but I think we need to find the safest, efficient and effective way to be able to go about it. So I’m just following updates, and I’m hopeful that we could be out there playing.”

Read More: NFL to play Black national anthem before week 1 games: report

Getting back to the game isn’t the only thing Ingram is looking forward to regarding this upcoming season. The Flint native said that he is also happy to see the league publicly support the Black Lives Matter movement following years of avoidance.

“I think it’s just important for equality amongst all people. And just to know that, people, you know, might not understand what it’s like to be a Black man in America, but you’re willing to listen, you’re willing to understand, willing to challenge those in order to make positive change,” he said. “The fact that the NFL is behind the movement, I hope everyone just continues to progress and push for change in our world, make it a better place.”

Ingram, who is a three-time NFL Pro Bowler, has been focused on training during the off-season. The pro athlete told theGrio that his work outs have often involved his four children, Myla, Mila, Mark and Mayla, since he frequently exercises from home due to the virus.

Divisional Round - Tennessee Titans v Baltimore Ravens
Mark Ingram II #21 of the Baltimore Ravens stands with his daughters before the AFC Divisional Playoff game against the Tennessee Titans in January 2020.

“Well, they just kind of mess with me when I’m working out,” he said with a laugh. “They kind of want to do the stuff that I’m doing or they want to work out. They want to run around. They want to play. But it’s awesome, man. I love the extra time that I’ve been able to have with them. My wife does a great job when I’m training and working, I usually have that time. But there’s times when they come out, they want to kind of see what daddy’s doing or tag along [with] whatever that he’s doing.”

He continued, “I put some little boxes out there, they’ll be doing plyometrics and make little obstacle courses and stuff. So they’ll be trying to stay active and get their little workouts in too, so we’re just trying to get it in as a family. We’re all are making each other better.”

Read More: Malcolm Jenkins isn’t sure the NFL should play this season

Ingram found an innovative method to stay cool while being active during the summer months: the frozen towel method. The football player said that the technique, which involves wetting a few towels and putting them in the freezer for later use, is a method that both he and his fellow Ravens players use.

“That is something that you know, we kind of share amongst each other,” he explained. “I mean, we get a quick break, you know, during practice. You see [a guy] going over to the ice bucket, and have a trainer drench [the towel] down his neck and his shoulder pads, and putting ice cold water on their wrists to cool their body temperature. You know, that is something that you spread around the team and it kind of catches fire quickly on those hot days, when you got the pads and the helmet on. You see somebody getting that cold ice bath from the towel—it kind of did catch on amongst everybody very quickly.”

Whether working out from home or with teammates, Ingram is encouraging all people to stay hydrated with Gatorade’s Beat the Heat campaign, which educates athletes on the importance of hydration.

“I think it’s important to listen to your body, especially when it’s hot outside,” he shared. “Hydration is something that you should be proactive with. You should stay hydrated throughout the day, through the night, while you’re working out—no matter what you do. If you’re just, you know, somebody who likes to be active outside, riding a bike or walking, whatever it may be, you have to listen to your body. In order to perform at your optimal level—to be alert, to be aware—you want to be hydrated.”

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