Seth Udinski, FISM News
In light of a flurry of positive COVID-19 cases in the NFL over the last week, the league is bringing back strict COVID-19 measures for players and coaches, regardless of vaccination status. The NFL is reportedly working with the NFL Players Association to enact these protocols, which will remain in effect until at least the duration of week 15.
According to the protocols, in place as of Thursday, all players and coaches will be required to wear masks and socially distance. The league is also putting limits on the number of people that can use practice facilities, weight rooms, and recovery rooms at one time.
The league is also changing the requirements for recovering players to return to eligibility after having tested positive. The league is loosening the number of negative tests necessary for returning players so that teams with high numbers of cases, such as the Cleveland Browns and Los Angeles Rams, can have the chance to return to full strength or close to it in time for week 15.
The NFL said,
Throughout the pandemic we have continuously evolved our protocols to meet our goal of advancing the safety of the players, coaches and staff…Effective immediately, all clubs will implement preventative measures that have proven effective: masking regardless of vaccination status, remote or outdoor meetings, eliminating in-person meals, and no outside visitors while on team travel. We will continue to strongly encourage booster shots as the most effective protection. Finally, and based on expert advice, we will adjust the return-to-participation requirements for those who have recovered from COVID-19.
On Friday, the league announced several games would be postponed to accommodate teams with high numbers. The Saturday clash between the Cleveland Browns and Las Vegas Raiders has been moved to Monday, while the matchups between the Washington Football Team and Philadelphia Eagles has been pushed to an odd Tuesday slot.
It is curious that the league, after virtually forcing the vaccine on all players and personnel, is now backtracking to enforce these policies regardless of vaccination status.