The NFL is almost back to business as usual — for vaccinated players.
The NFL and NFL Players Association have updated COVID-19 protocols to loosen restrictions for fully vaccinated players and to encourage others to get the vaccine.
Unvaccinated players must continue to get daily testing, wear masks and practice physical distancing. They won’t be allowed to eat meals with teammates, can’t participate in media or marketing activities while traveling, aren’t permitted to use the sauna or steam room and may not leave the team hotel or interact with people outside the team while traveling.
Vaccinated players will not have any of those restrictions, according to a memo sent to teams on Wednesday that was obtained by The Associated Press.
Media access to the press box, field and sidelines, locker room and postgame interview room will be available only to media members who are fully vaccinated.
Several players have expressed concerns about receiving the vaccine. The updated protocols give them more incentive to get it.
Washington pass rusher Montez Sweat said last week he “probably won’t get vaccinated until I got more facts and that type of stuff, but I’m not a fan of it at all.”
Teams have brought in experts to discuss the vaccine with players and staff.
“They’re doing a great job of continuing to educate us and giving us resources and then kind of giving us the option to make that informed decision with where we’re at personally and go from there,” Vikings wide reciever Adam Thielen said.