JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Jacksonville Jaguars coach Urban Meyer said he along with general manager Trent Baalke considered vaccination status to make final roster cuts.
Meyer indicated that he considered this issue because of the stricter protocols for COVID-19 imposed on unvaccinated players who test positive or who are identified as high-risk close contacts compared to the protocols for vaccinated players.
The deadline to cut the rosters to 53 players around the NFL was met was Tuesday afternoon.
“Everyone was considerate. It was part (of the considerations), like the production, let’s start talking about this and also, is he vaccinated or not? ”Meyer explained. “Can I say that it was key in making the decision? I certainly considered it. “
Meyer’s comments were not well taken by the NFL Players Association. George Atallah, the union’s assistant executive director for external affairs, said via email that the Jaguars coach’s statement “led us to open an investigation.”
The NFL reiterated in detail that there is a rule that prohibits teams from cutting players because of their vaccination status. This was imposed by comments Buffalo Bills general manager Brandon Beane made in an interview on One Bills Live radio show during a team event, when he said he would cut an unvaccinated player to bring the team closer to herd immunity “because that would be an advantage” for a team to have a normal offseason experience.
According to multiple reports, the NFL spoke to Beane about his comments.
For his part, Meyer said that vaccination status was one of the things he took into consideration and that they were not cut just because of their status.
The difference in the protocols for vaccinated and unvaccinated players is significant. An unvaccinated player who tests positive or is classified as a high-risk close contact would lose more time than a vaccinated element.
Vaccinated players are tested weekly and those who test positive are required to be out of the team for 10 days or may return sooner once they have tested negative on two PCR tests 24 hours apart. Vaccinated players cannot be identified as high-risk close contacts, but if someone who tests positive is exposed, they must wear a face mask (mask) inside the facility and must undergo daily testing for five days after the day of exposure.
Unvaccinated players are subjected to daily tests and those who test positive must be away from the team for 10 days and then enter a three-day return protocol. Those designated as high-risk close contacts should be tested immediately. If they test negative, they must be away from the club for five days and return to the sixth. If they test positive, they must go through a 10-day quarantine and then enter the three-day return protocol.
Meyer said at the beginning of training camp that the team tried to educate players about the vaccine and encouraged them to get vaccinated, but that each player was allowed to decide for himself, however, the coach also admitted that the protocols for unvaccinated players that test positive or are high-risk close contacts could significantly impact the team’s chances of winning.
The coach cited defensive end Josh Allen’s situation as an example.
Allen, the team’s best defensive lineman, was put on the reserve / COVID list on Aug. 23 and left it until Tuesday. Allen, who did not disclose his vaccination status but has worn a mask in interviews, did not play in the Jaguars’ last two preseason games.
Well, Josh Allen never had (COVID). He hasn’t played in two weeks so he’s never had COVID, ”Meyer said. “I don’t know if I am allowed to say it, but he has never had COVID, so that (go to the list) is too punitive.”