NEW YORK – Only unvaccinated players and players with possible symptoms of COVID-19 will be tested according to the NFL’s revised protocols starting Sunday.
Additionally, higher risk players have until 2 p.m. Monday to send written notice if they choose to opt out, according to a memo sent to clubs on Saturday received by the Associated Press. Players are not paid and the cancellation is irrevocable.
“Medical information strongly suggests that this variant is significantly more contagious but potentially less severe than previous variants, especially for those who are fully vaccinated and have received a booster,” said NFL commissioner Roger Goodell in another memo to the Clubs.
“Our experience with the Omicron variant is fully in line with this expectation – while more players and staff test positive, about two-thirds of these people are asymptomatic, most of the remaining people have only mild symptoms, and the virus appears to be clearly positive be. ”individuals faster than was the case with the Delta or earlier variants. In many ways, Omicron seems to be a completely different disease than the one we were confronted with for the first time in spring 2020. “
On Friday, due to COVID-19 outbreaks, the league postponed three games scheduled for this weekend: Las Vegas in Cleveland from Saturday to Monday; and Seattle at the Los Angeles Rams and Washington at Philadelphia Sunday through Tuesday.
In addition to the targeted test plan and the opt-out option, the new protocols offer players more flexibility in virtual participation in meetings.
Earlier this week, the league and the NFL Players Association updated the protocols to allow asymptomatic vaccinated players to return sooner if they have two negative tests on the same day or a negative test and an antibody test show the person has reached a certain level.
Dr. Washington chief medical officer Tony Casolaro said on a conference call that 21 out of 23 players on the team who tested positive could have exercised with mild symptoms.
“We will continue to monitor medical and public developments in general and in each club and stand ready to further adjust the protocols as conditions warrant, including introducing greater flexibility based on medical considerations,” said Goodell.
Previously, the NFL did not plan to postpone games due to coronavirus outbreaks. It was even said that forfeitures “might be at play”. But recent developments with the Omicron strain of COVID-19 have changed the way the league thinks – as have multiple outbreaks across the league in week 15 of the season.
The Browns had another positive start line test while training in preparation for the Raiders on Saturday.
Rookie James Hudson III was added to the Reserve / COVID-19 list, joining right guard Wyatt Teller and left tackle Jedrick Wills Jr. on a list that reached two dozen players – and 12 starters.
With the league’s loose testing protocols, it’s possible the Browns could get some players back in time for the Raiders.
“If the boys do it again, that’s great,” said coach Kevin Stefanski, who also had to take a break after a positive test. “If they don’t, we’ll be fine.”Elsewhere, the Chicago Bears activated Eddie Goldman of the Reserve / COVID-19 list with nose attacks and announced their plan if their three coordinators are not cleared for Monday night’s game against the Minnesota Vikings after they positive during the week the virus were tested.
Passing coordinator and quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo would replace Lazor. Longtime NFL defense coordinator and former Cleveland Browns head coach Mike Pettine would call the defense in his first season as Chicago’s senior defensive assistant. And Brian Ginn, Assistant Special Teams Coach, would act as Special Teams Coordinator.
The Dallas Cowboys placed defensive tackles Trysten Hill and Osa Odighizuwa on the list.
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