Bruce Arians using stricter COVID-19 rules for Bucs: 'I don't give a crap if they're vaccinated'

·2 min read

The NFL has relaxed certain COVID-19 protocols for vaccinated players this season.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians, however, isn’t having it.

“There’s league rules, and then there’s my rules,” Arians said Wednesday, via ESPN’s Jenna Laine. “We ain’t going anywhere. We’re the same as last year.

“I don’t give a crap if they’re vaccinated or not. They ain't going anywhere.”

Arians: ‘For us, life is not normal’

Arians’ announcement comes amid both a massive coronavirus surge in Florida and the rest of the region and an outbreak on both the Buccaneers and the Tennessee Titans.

Titans coach Mike Vrabel said Sunday that he tested positive, one day after they beat the Buccaneers 34-3 in a preseason game. The two teams held joint practices all week before that game, too.

Tampa kicker Ryan Succop landed on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Tuesday, too, after Arians said he tested positive. Succop is fully vaccinated.

“All contacts [with Vrabel] were outside. We had one guy that went to dinner with some guys that did test positive today,” Arians said Tuesday, via ESPN. “He went to dinner with some Titan friends. That was Ryan Succop.”

As Succop is vaccinated, he is allowed to go out to eat under NFL rules.

Florida recorded more than 21,000 new cases on Tuesday, the highest in the country by far, and is averaging 99 new cases per 100,000 residents, the third highest rate in the country, according to The New York Times. About 52% of Floridians are fully vaccinated.

When looking at both Succop’s case and the current state of Florida, Arians is done following the NFL’s policy on road trips. Players, he said, won’t be allowed to leave the team hotel or have family or friends visit them on road trips throughout the year regardless of their vaccination status.

"For us, life is not normal," Arians said, via ESPN. "We're pretty much under the same protocol, we're going to be under the same protocols as last year.

“Because that's the way it is, especially living here [in Florida]. Tennessee coming in and going out to dinner — they found out the hard way. So did Ryan. You can only tell them so much. Once we get to 53 [players on our roster] — even this weekend [for our preseason game in Houston] — our guys are going to make a bunch of sacrifices that you have to make now. Families at the hotel, all those things, they're all out the window."

Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians
Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians talks to quarterback Blaine Gabbert during their preseason loss to the Tennessee Titans. (AP/Jason Behnken)