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Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians doesn’t need a coronavirus vaccine expert to come and speak to his players, telling reporters on Thursday, “I’m the specialist.” 

Arians was asked about a recent move by the Washington Football Team bringing in an immunologist to speak with its players about getting the COVID-19 vaccine and if the Bucs had any plans to do something similar. 

“No, I’m the specialist,” Arians said with a laugh. “If you wanna go back to normal, get vaccinated. Eighty-five percent is what we’re shooting for. . . . It’s still a personal choice, but I don’t see a reason not to be vaccinated.” 

The NFL last month dropped a mask mandate for fully vaccinated players and staff. Commissioner Roger Goodell said late last month that 30 of the league’s 32 teams had a vaccination rate above 90% for tier 1 and 2 level staff members.

Washington pass rusher Montez Sweat came out against his team’s efforts to persuade players into getting vaccinated. 

“I’m not a fan of it,” Sweat said Wednesday. “I probably won’t get vaccinated until I get more facts and that stuff. I’m not a fan of it at all.”

“I haven’t caught COVID yet so I don’t see me treating COVID until I actually get COVID,” he added.

Other players have recently revealed their hesitation about getting the vaccine. Carolina Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold told reporters Wednesday that he is among the players not vaccinated and has not yet made a decision on if he will. 

“I still gotta think about all those certain things that go into it,” Darnold said, via The Charlotte Observer. “Again, it’s everyone’s choice whether they want to get vaccinated or not. So, that’s really all I got on it. I don’t want to go too into detail.”

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