The NFL and NFLPA have agreed to new COVID protocols for the 2021 NFL season, per Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network. There are changes in place that affect both the players and members in the media.
Among some of differences this year for the players that are vaccinated – no daily testing will be required and neither will masks. All travel restrictions will be lifted and they’ll have the ability to use certain areas of the facilities. This also means that teammates can gather together again in the dining room, which they weren’t allowed to do such last season.
For players that are not vaccinated, the protocols remain similar. There will be travel restrictions for road games and only 15 players at a time can be in the weight room, along with other restrictions.
Pelissero posted an entire thread of all the rules and guidelines, which you can read below.
The NFL and NFLPA have agreed to updated COVID-19 protocols for 2021 training camp and preseason, per source.
How different will life by for vaccinated and unvaccinated players? From the memo that just went to clubs: pic.twitter.com/8yMPW0JBWZ
As for the media – fully vaccinated members will be allowed to conduct in person interviews at practice and after games. They will have access to the team’s facility, but will still have to wear a mask. Non-vaccinated media will not be permitted in the press box, on the field or in the locker room post-game.
This is a big step up on both sides from last season when the Bucs won Super Bowl LV. Every interview during that time was conducted via Zoom. No one but employees in the organization were allowed in the facility. Players would also have to meet in different areas outside and couldn’t all be in a room at the same time.
With the creation of COVID vaccines like the Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson and Johnson, states have been opening up more. We’ve already seen changes in access to individuals in Tampa. Bruce Arians was able to conduct his interviews following Bucs’ OTAs and mini-camp in person.
Arians has encouraged his players to get vaccinated, but ultimately said it’s a personal choice. The goal was for the Bucs to have 85 percent of the team vaccinated before the season.