Higher-risk players can opt out for balance of season before Monday

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With the NFL waving the white flag (while climbing the green mountain) via the dramatic changes to testing and protocols aimed at taking a see-no-COVID, head-no-COVID, speak-no-COVID approach to the balance of the season in order to get all games played, the league and the union have created a way out for those players who aren’t comfortable with dramatically reduced testing and dramatically relaxed protections, if they qualify.

By Monday at 2:00 p.m. ET, any higher-risk player can opt out for the balance of the season.

From the revised protocols “A Higher Risk Player is defined as a player with a previously confirmed diagnosis of one or more of the following CDC-defined risk factors: (1) cancer; (2) chronic kidney disease; (3) COPD; (4) immunocompromised state from solid organ transplant; (5) serious heart condition such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies; (6) sickle cell disease; (7) Type 2 diabetes mellitus; (8) cerebrovascular disease (affects blood vessels and blood supply to the brain); (9) cystic fibrosis; (10) immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from blood or bone marrow transplant, immune deficiencies, HIV, use of corticosteroids, or use of other immune weakening medicines; (11) neurologic conditions, such as dementia; (12) liver disease; (13) pulmonary fibrosis (having damaged or scarred lung tissues); or (14) previously hospitalized for COVID or myocarditis objectively measured and causally linked to a prior COVID-19 infection. In addition, if a player has a high-risk co-habitant that has a confirmed diagnosis listed above, such a player may request to opt out, and the request will be evaluated by Dr. [Allen] Sills.”

Anyone who opts out will receive no pay for the balance of the season.

Even with no stipend or other compensation, opting out may be better than just walking away. Some players would owe bonus money to their teams. Others would endure complications with the balance of their contracts, potentially.

For any player who isn’t comfortable with today’s changes (and, as we hear it, plenty are) and who doesn’t meet the “higher-risk” definition, talk to the union or your agent to determine the pros and cons of simply retiring or quitting for the rest of the year. It’s important to know the full consequences of quitting before doing it. For some who are concerned about the new procedures, walking away may be a very viable option.

23 responses to “Higher-risk players can opt out for balance of season before Monday

  1. They’re doing the right thing! Since covid started how much has it affected anyone in NFL? they choose to fight while lefty libs take flight.

    Why give in?? The worst anyone in the NFL is going to have is a runny nose

  2. Ah, yes. Ignoring the seriousness of COVID. It’s what everyone has done since the beginning, and since everyone is tired of doing what very very little anyone has done up until now, they all have just decided to give up! It’s why COVID will never go away. Everyone is too weak to handle tough things, so the answer is to give up. I never want to hear ‘Person’s First Name-Strong’ ever again. 99.999% of the world’s population are weaklings which is why you never stayed home and stamped COVID out, and now we have to live with it for the rest of our lives.

  3. What do you think is next? Mandates then a whole lot of players will walk out. NFL is in a tough spot right now

  4. Any unvaccinated player will probably catch it as omicron is even more contagious than Delta.

    I guess it will sad to see if anyone DOES get seriously sick with it, to the point of not being able to play.

    The NFL has gotten pretty lucky that no high profile player has had a major covid complication. But…that luck might well run out sooner or later.

    Hopefully Omicron really does produce less serious illness. This is a hell of a way to find out.

  5. If you have any of the above listed conditions on there own you may want to opt out off football all together !

  6. It does not matter whether or not you’ve received the vaccine. These athletes are all healthy. Many of these players didn’t even know they had it last year.

  7. betterthanflorio says:
    December 18, 2021 at 5:18 pm
    Ah, yes. Ignoring the seriousness of COVID. It’s what everyone has done since the beginning, and since everyone is tired of doing what very very little anyone has done up until now, they all have just decided to give up! It’s why COVID will never go away. Everyone is too weak to handle tough things, so the answer is to give up. I never want to hear ‘Person’s First Name-Strong’ ever again. 99.999% of the world’s population are weaklings which is why you never stayed home and stamped COVID out, and now we have to live with it for the rest of our lives.
    ———
    SMH ebola was supposed to kill us all. As was Sars, H1N1 ect ect. Who’s the weak one again?

  8. hamlet423 says:
    December 18, 2021 at 5:44 pm

    The NFL has gotten pretty lucky that no high profile player has had a major covid complication. But…that luck might well run out sooner or later.

    5 19 Rate This
    ———————-

    The logic that eventually one person might have an adverse event also works for crossing the street. While the NFL has had no player hit by a car while walking in a crosswalk… that luck might well run out.

  9. What nonsense did I just read??? What active NFL player would have ANY of those ‘higher risk factors’??? Those are all major problems. I’d think anyone with any of those things wouldn’t be playing pro ball. And anyone coming down with covid now is probably getting the omicron variant which is mild symptoms of congestion, cough, fatigue, ie a COLD. It’s way past time to stop the panic. Omicron, by all accounts is a mild version of covid that hasn’t resulted in any deaths. Pro athletes, in the shape they are in, should have nothing to worry about.

  10. Why should vaxxed asymptomatic players be tested? If you don’t have symptoms then who cares? If you are not vaxxed, thats a YOU problem.

  11. betterthanflorio says:

    December 18, 2021 at 5:18 pm

    Ah, yes. Ignoring the seriousness of COVID. It’s what everyone has done since the beginning, and since everyone is tired of doing what very very little anyone has done up until now, they all have just decided to give up! It’s why COVID will never go away. Everyone is too weak to handle tough things, so the answer is to give up. I never want to hear ‘Person’s First Name-Strong’ ever again. 99.999% of the world’s population are weaklings which is why you never stayed home and stamped COVID out, and now we have to live with it for the rest of our lives.

    ============================================I can’t even wrap my brain around this one.

  12. Sickle cell has stopped players from traveling to Denver several times in the past three seasons.

  13. complicatedfella says:
    December 18, 2021 at 5:19 pm
    World Class teams don’t deal with difficult players who lie and throw their teammates under the bus on a regular basis…take note, Green Bay.

    You can’t wait out a virus. It’s basically the new flu. Either get used to it and live your life or live in your basement the rest of your life. And I work in a COVID unit every day.

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