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Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians has confirmed that the entire Tampa team of players and personnel is fully vaccinated, as of this week. The Super Bowl-winning coach has ardently urged his team to get vaccinated, even after players expressed their trepidations.
Thursday’s announcement comes a little over a week after the team experienced a COVID scare when placekicker Ryan Succop reportedly contracted the illness. Tracing led back to former coach Mike Vrabel, who met up with Succop following a matchup between the Bucs and Titans.
Arians used the incident to nail down a commitment to reach full vaccination status. The coach joked that the team will be abiding by his rules regarding COVID, not the NFL’s, and that locking players down in their hotel rooms are the lengths he’d be willing to go.
Running back Leonard Fournette was the most notable name on the team’s vaccine hesitancy list, expressing concerns about the long-term effects of the vaccine — akin to Buffalo Bills wideout Cole Beasley, minus the rabid response from the NFL media. Fournette ultimately decided to get vaccinated in order to help the team reach 100 percent vaccination rate.
Fournette shared his thoughts on getting vaccinated: “It’s something I wanted to do, trying to put the team [out of] harm’s [way]. People are still catching it, but it makes it a lot better to have the shot. We need every hand in here for these next couple big games we’ve got coming up.”
The Atlanta Falcons hold the title of first fully vaccinated franchise in the league, but now the Bucs are runner-ups.
Follow along on Twitter: @AlejandroAveela