Similar to the other North American professional sports leagues, the NFL is loosening certain health and safety protocols for players, coaches and other personnel who are vaccinated against COVID-19. Because of this, head coaches such as Matt Nagy of the Chicago Bears and Bruce Arians of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have stressed the importance of being vaccinated even though the NFL and NFL Players Association have reminded everyone involved players cannot be cut simply for remaining unvaccinated.
Minnesota Vikings coach Mike Zimmer is also encouraging players to get jabbed as soon as possible.
According to Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Zimmer had players speak with NFL chief medical officer Dr. Allen Sills Wednesday morning about the safety of the shots and the importance of being vaccinated before the season. Zimmer added those who don’t receive shots will only make things more difficult for themselves throughout the summer and fall months. He explained:
“The unvaccinated players are going to have a harder time in the season. They’re going to be wearing masks, they’ll have to social distance. They’ll have daily testings. They won’t be able to go home for bye week. They’ll have to come back here and test every day.
“When we go on the road, they won’t be able to go out to dinner with anybody. They’ll have to travel on buses differently, travel on planes differently. A lot of the meetings will be virtual like this, so there’s not only the safety part of being vaccinated, but as far as being part of a football team, it’s just going to be so much easier.”
On Tuesday, Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin boasted about learning the Steelers were “tops in the league” for vaccinations and also said: “We’re going to look for any advantage that compliance might give us.”