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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were the second NFL team to become fully vaccinated on Thursday, including players and coaching staff.
Coach Bruce Arians announced the team was “100% vaccinated” after months of publicly supporting efforts to reach that goal
“We’re 100% vaccinated, our entire organization, all the players, all the coaches, everybody,” he said, via the team’s website.
The Atlanta Falcons became the first team to reach that goal last month after initially entering training camp with at least 92% of all its players being vaccinated.
“Each player will now enjoy the benefits of being able to work out and eat together. They won’t have to test daily, won’t have to wear masks around the facility, and won’t have to quarantine following a close contact with someone who tests positive,” the team’s website read.
Arians is definitely happy to have all his players vaccinated but he certainly won’t be taking a more lax approach to team protocols even with a 100% vaccinated status.
“For us, life is not normal,” Arians said, last month after kicker Ryan Succop tested positive following a preseason game against the Tennessee Titans. “We’re pretty much under the same protocols – we’re going to be under the same protocols as last year. Because that’s the way it is, especially living here.”
“There’s league rules and then there’s my rules. We ain’t going anywhere. We’re the same as last year,” he added. “I don’t give a crap if they’re vaccinated or not. They ain’t going anywhere.”
Arians has been a public advocate for the vaccine, even using his recent visit to the White House to voice his support for it, but he was met by pushback, specifically from veteran running back Leonard Fournette, who previously said he “can’t do it.”
Now, obviously having received the vaccine, Fournette said his decision was made with regards to the team.
“It’s something I wanted to do. We need every hand in here,” he said. “I’m trying to be the best teammate I can be.”
The NFL has updated its policy to increase testing for vaccinated players from every two weeks to every week. There are still calls for the league to increase testing to daily testing for all players as those with the vaccine can still get and spread the virus.
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