The 2020 season was conducted under the cloud of the COVID-19 pandemic. While there are much more ambitious plans for this upcoming season and how it will play out, especially in regard to fan attendance, thanks to the COVID-19 vaccines that are available, the vaccine itself has become a point of discussion.
Players who are vaccinated have far less stringent virus protocols that they have to follow in comparison to unvaccinated players. While that’s all fine and good once you’re on a team, however, not being vaccinated does pose a problem for those who are looking for a job. That’s something Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert talked about earlier today on SiriusXM Radio.
Discussing the logistics of making roster moves under these conditions, Pat Kirwan and Jim Miller brought up the signing of tight end Marcus Baugh following Dax Raymond’s injury waiver. Vaccinated players can come into the building right away. Unvaccinated players have to go through a two-day testing period first (last year, it was five days).
“The other thing that we’ve got to factor in”, Colbert said, “is the vaccinated player will get the opportunity before the unvaccinated will, only because he can plug in quicker. Of course we have to plug into all the protocols, but that vaccinated player will get the first look”.
There is an aphorism that goes, the best ability is availability, and in this climate, in the NFL, being vaccinated makes you more available than if you’re not, simply because you don’t have to go through the testing period, at least under the current protocols.
“Even the guys, if they’re unvaccinated, they have to be aware that when teams are looking for players, if we happen to cut someone, they’re gonna favor the vaccinated, as we all should”, Colbert added, after stating that he encourages all of their players to get vaccinated.
Team president Art Rooney II earlier today said that the roster is just a handful shy of being 100 percent vaccinated. It was reported on this day as well that about 90 percent of the league’s players have at least begun the vaccination process, and all but five teams have at least 85 percent of their roster fully vaccinated or becoming vaccinated.
Players may still choose not to get vaccinated, but they will have to follow different protocols. And it’s much easier when you’re already on a roster as opposed to the unvaccinated player, as mentioned above, who is looking for a team, because sometimes the quickest guy you can bring in is the most valuable when time is of the essence.