Coaches worry about potential positive tests for players returning from mini-bye

Duke's Mayo Classic - Georgia v Clemson
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One of the benefits of getting vaccinated comes from the ability to leave town during the regular-season bye and, more immediately, the mini-bye over Labor Day weekend.

With the virus still spreading and vaccinated players traveling to and from various places where they may have been exposed to it, they now must be tested upon their return to work. And coaches are holding their breath for what may happen next.

Chris Mortensen of ESPN reports that he has “[t]alked or text[ed] with number of NFL coaches/execs who are nervous about COVID-19 testing today with the number of players who visited their former college teams’ opening games (and social gatherings) this past weekend.”

It’s possible that, given the incubation period, a vaccinated player who was exposed to the virus while, for example, attending a college football game (like Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence maskless in a suite at Georgia-Clemson) may not yet be positive for COVID. With weekly testing, it’s possible that the virus will be in and out of the symptoms of the vaccinated players before their next weekly test.

It’s also possible they’ll test positive, like Cowboys guard Zack Martin did. At this point, a positive test puts a vaccinated player’s availability in doubt for Week One, since a pair of negative outcomes at least 24 hours apart would be needed to clear the player to play.

That’s the flaw in the NFL’s current protocols. The incentives created to persuade players to get vaccinated create opportunities for players to develop a breakthrough case of COVID. It will be far less likely to put them in a hospital, but it will put them on the sideline, based on weekly testing. (The NFLPA has suggested daily testing for all players, vaccinated or not.)

And with vaccinated players not required to leave the facility after close-contact exposure, they could develop COVID and shed the virus before their next weekly positive test. Which could, given the way these protocols were developed and, more importantly, not adjusted as the Delta variant has raged, cause many more players to miss games than last year.

The Cowboys have had nine players on COVID reserve in the last 16 days. Last year, they had seven all season. Whether that’s an aberration or a harbinger remains to be seen.

25 responses to “Coaches worry about potential positive tests for players returning from mini-bye

  1. Why are these players so dumb? No one should be getting it if you are vaccinated and around inteligent people following the protocols.

  2. Seems like to me vaccinated or not everyone should be tested daily shouldn’t need an incentive to get vaccinated the NFL has the money and the test after delta dies they will be another variant looking back on previous pandemics seems like it takes 2 yrs to run its course

  3. Do we know for sure if Lawrence has received his booster or 3rd shot? Maybe he has hence his cavalier appearance.

  4. Copy and paste this article for every team coming off a bye week during the season. The scare tactics and over protection will never end.

  5. There is something to be said regarding the 100% attendance on games for 2021.
    While fighting another COVID wave.
    Does not add up.

  6. The vaccine didn’t keep me from getting (Delta variant) Covid but it did keep me out of the hospital.

    That said, I 100% believe in everyone’s right to choose for themselves whether or not to take the vaccine.

    But with THAT said, I also believe those that choose not to take the vaccine should stop taking up hospital space and sucking up my tax dollars. Let them die their slow miserable deaths at home, burdening their family members instead of our already-overworked healthcare professionals.

    I believe in choice. But choices have consequences.

  7. The whole country is concerned about vaccinated people testing positive for the Delta variant, which is much more contagious and virulent than Covid-19. That is not an indictment against the vaccines. The vaccines never came with guarantees, but they are very effective at prevention…..within reason. The “reason” part was left behind by self-serving anti-vaxxers and anti-maskers. This should have and could have been under control last year. It’s funny how the “freedom” of some has screwed up legitimate freedom for everybody. Be patriotic. Be an American. Stand shoulder-to-shoulder with your friends and neighbors against an in-common and dangerous foe. Get vaccinated, as you’ve done countless times already for other afflictions.

  8. My prediction is the Bills have a great year and then get hit hard by COVID during the playoffs. They simply have too many non vaccinated key players, and they do not care that the FDA approved the Pfizer vaccine… Very unfortunate.

  9. For those not aware, the vaccine does NOT prevent you from catching COVID.

    The vaccine severely reduces the symptoms if you catch Covid and increases the chances of full recovery to like 99%.

  10. billsmafiacolorado says:
    September 6, 2021 at 11:49 am
    My prediction is the Bills have a great year and then get hit hard by COVID during the playoffs. They simply have too many non vaccinated key players, and they do not care that the FDA approved the Pfizer vaccine… Very unfortunate.

    0 0 Rate This
    ———————-

    They’ll be infected well before the playoffs.

  11. I don’t think Seattle had a single positive test all season least year. I’d be anxious to see what they did, and what they’re doing this year. But wait, that makes too much sense. Forget that idea.

  12. Test daily or not at all. I prefer not at all, and send home anyone showing symptoms. Whether cold, flu or covid.

  13. Seeing full stadiums with a country that is 50% vaccinated at best this weekend made my stomach turn. I really doubt the whole season will be played in front of capacity crowds. My heart goes out for the healthcare professionals are being forced to deal with this ignorance and stupidity.

  14. charliecharger says:
    September 6, 2021 at 12:28 pm
    I don’t think Seattle had a single positive test all season least year. I’d be anxious to see what they did, and what they’re doing this year. But wait, that makes too much sense. Forget that idea.
    —————————————–
    Well they are not requiring any vax mandates or masks for fans to get into the stadium. They are “encouraging” maske usage in indoor areas.

  15. Covid is real. When will the nation take it seriously? Everyone needs to work from home. If I was the commissioner I’d make the coaches play Madden other the internet against other teams.. The Super Bowl could easily be decided this way. GrubHub and Door Dash could sponsor it.

  16. I really don’t understand players’ hesitancy with the vaccine? Do any of these players take any pain killers, prescribed or over the counter? Have they looked at the side effects – liver damage (including possible death), increased blood pressure & chest pain, among others. What about those pain-killing shots they take so they can play when they are hurt?

    If anyone of them attended elementary school in the US, they had to be vaccinated against polio, diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus and a bunch others. And they are all alive to talk about it.

    Dolphins left tackle Austin Jackson is not available for game 1 because of COVID.

    If I were the manager, I’d kick his arse off the team.

  17. Very easy to claim the vaccinated have a better chance of survival when so many survive it anyway. Just can’t understand the logic of a vaccinated person claiming their case would have been worse were they not vaccinated. Total speculation at that point.

  18. This is why they should be following the same protocols as last year so we can have a relatively event free season. BB hit the nail on the head. The vaccines aren’t the stopping point. Still gotta test and mask up regardless. How would it look if a vaccinated team had to forfeit? Who would they blame then?

  19. The problem with the unvaccinated at this point is they want it both ways.

    Unvaccinated should be required to go to Tractor Supply and pay out of pocket.

    Vaccinated get to use hospitals and insurance.

    The fact is it cost around $40k per person for Covid treatment once they reach the ER. You guys are costing me money. I care about my money more than you.

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