Vaccines are still a hot topic in the NFL as the season approaches. The rate of players vaccinated is at 93%, but prominent players are still refusing to take the shot, citing it as a personal decision.
Whatever a player feels about taking the vaccine, the truth is that teams with a high vaccine rate will have a competitive advantage over their opponents because of the COVID-19 protocols set for the 2021 season.
Players who are vaccinated will not have to miss games or practice sessions for close contact if they test negative. There's also the fact that they're at much less risk of contracting the virus if they are vaccinated. There's no way to sugarcoat it: being vaccinated is a competitive advantage.
Star players like Carson Wentz, Kirk Cousins and Cole Beasley have made public reservations about getting the vaccine. But the NFL also has players who have a better understanding of what being a good teammate is about and have vaccinated themselves.
Are there NFL teams who are completely vaccinated?
As September starts, there are two NFL teams that reportedly have a 100% vaccine rate.
The Atlanta Falcons and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, both from the NFC South, have their entire coaching staff and roster vaccinated.
Both were always reported as teams with a high vaccine rate, but to get to 100% is a huge milestone. That means quarantine for close-contact and positive cases in their midst will be rare.
The Buccaneers' announcement about a 100% vaccine rate comes as a bit of surprise because they had one player who went public about not taking a vaccine. But running back Leonard Fournette turned on his decision and got the jab.
Renowend NFL players who aren't vaccinated yet
Cole Beasley, who received All-Pro honors following a successful 2020 season, is the one most vocal about his stance. But there are also other renowned players who haven't been shy about their stance against the shot.
Kirk Cousins had to be away from five days of practice following close contact with Kellen Mond, another Minnesota Vikings quarterback who tested positive for COVID-19 in late July.
Cam Newton left the New England area, and also missed five days of practice, even with negative tests. If he was vaccinated, he wouldn't have had to miss camp time. Newton was released from the Patriots earlier this week. Although coach Bill Belichick has said that his release had nothing to do with Newton's decision not to get the vaccine.
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Buffalo Bills star Josh Allen used the 'personal decision' card, a common theme among ones who aren't vaccinated. Carson Wentz, quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts, did the same. He used the same argument recently after returning to practice following days away because of a close-contact with a trainer who had tested positive.