Tom Brady and the rest of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are leaving no stone unturned in their quest to retain their Super Bowl championship this coming season. Head coach Bruce Arians announced that 100 percent of the Bucs’ players, coaches, and staff had been vaccinated, thus providing a major boost to their title defense.
Tampa Bay is just the second team in the NFL to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The Atlanta Falcons achieved their 100% vaccination status a couple of weeks ago after reportedly cutting two unvaccinated players.
Fournette changes his mind about the COVID-19 vaccine
Arians told the media in previous weeks that the Bucs were close to arriving at the 100-percent mark with only one or two players refusing to receive the COVID-19 jab. One of those players was star running back Leonard Fournette, who posted a tweet back in July that he didn’t want to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
Fournette spoke to reporters on Thursday to confirm his vaccination status and explain why he decided to change his stance. Fournette said, “You can still catch it, but it makes it a lot better to have the shot. We need every hand in here for the next couple big games.”
Bucs running back @_fournette explains his reasons for getting the COVID-19 vaccine after initially being against it. He wanted to keep the team out of harm’s way. “You can still catch it, but it makes it a lot better to have the shot. … We need every hand in here…” pic.twitter.com/UOdFme8blU
— JennaLaineESPN (@JennaLaineESPN) September 2, 2021
It’s safe to say Arians was the driving force behind the Bucs reaching that 100-percent mark as he has been a major proponent of vaccine use from the very start. The 68-year-old coach told his team earlier this summer that getting the COVID-19 jab is the easiest way for things to go back to normal.
Bucs gain huge edge over rivals with fully vaccinated team
Having his team fully vaccinated will give the Bucs’ a major advantage against their rivals this coming season, with the NFL imposing strict rules and protocols on unvaccinated players. In the latest guidelines released by the NFL and the NFLPA, unvaccinated and partially vaccinated players are mandated to test for COVID-19 every day, including off days.
The high-risk close contact protocol is the rule that can hurt some teams with unvaccinated players this coming season. They would be in danger of missing games even without a positive COVID-19 test if they were proven to be in close contact with someone who tested positive for the coronavirus.
That has been the case recently with Indianapolis Colts quarterback Carson Wentz, who missed some valuable practice time after being identified as a close contact even though he didn’t yield a positive COVID-19 test himself.
Fully vaccinated individuals are afforded more freedom in such a scenario as they will not be designated as high-risk close contacts, but they can still be tested daily for COVID-19 for up to five days.
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