Videos by OutKick
Tennessee Titans coach Mike Vrabel announced on Sunday that he tested positive for COVID-19. The head coach is fully vaccinated and cited having only “minor symptoms” during a Zoom call with the media.
Vrabel said he is currently quarantined and waiting on a pending test to confirm primary diagnosis. If positive, he will not return to the Titans facilities for another week.
The coach said, “What it comes down to is you have to have two negative tests within a 48-hour period. If that happens then I can get back into the building. If not, I’ll have to wait 10 days.”
With the NFL regular season less than a month away — and COVID cases springing up among the vaccinated and unvaccinated — Commissioner Roger Goodell’s approach to working around the virus in 2021-2022 still fails to ensure confidence with mitigating COVID’s effects on wins, losses, playoff picture, etc.
Upon news of Vrabel’s positive COVID status, OutKick’s Clay Travis laid out how the current NFL COVID policies continue to promote the same consistency as a Jordan Reed injury report.
On Saturday, Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn and defensive tackle Carlos Watkins were ruled out of their preseason game against the Houston Texans due to COVID — an announcement made only 30 minutes before the contest.
According to the Cowboys’ official website at the time of the announcement, 93 percent of Cowboys players have confirmed vaccination status. As for the coaches, “100% of the team’s football staff is fully vaccinated” — meaning Quinn was up to date with the league’s vaccine mandate.
Tracking teams’ vaccination rates continues to be the primary metric for the NFL’s COVID-19 guidelines, yet the progress with getting players and coaches inoculated fails in exempting players from missing games.
The team sent out a league-wide memo, first reported by Tom Pelissero, on the ruling regarding COVID-19 cases during the regular season. Also including ramifications for unvaccinated players that get COVID, compared to the vaccinated segment.
NFL guidelines dictate that “game[s] cannot be rescheduled during the 18-week schedule due to a COVID-19 outbreak among unvaccinated players, the team with the outbreak will forfeit and be credited with a loss, per sources informed of the situation.”
The memo adds, “Players on both teams will not be paid for the lost contest, and the team responsible for the cancelled game due to unvaccinated players will cover financial losses and be subject to potential discipline from the Commissioner’s office.”
Safety continues to be paramount in the League’s strategy in dealing with COVID. However, the NFL’s ruling that forces vaccinated and unvaccinated players to miss out on games and practices lacks a judicious approach for the season ahead.
The NFL remains a collection of freakishly fit athletes making the rigorous decisions to maintain a healthy lifestyle and earn their keep on a roster. Let the players play, and let the coaches coach.
Follow along on Twitter: @AlejandroAveela