Cowboys may be heading to camp without reaching vaccination threshold

·2 min read

The summer desert is almost over. The Dallas Cowboys will report to training camp in less than a week’s time, and all will finally be right with the world. Sort of. Part of the NFL’s push to have full activities for all of their clubs is a push to have all of their clubs meet a vaccination threshold.

Monday, the league reported seven of the 32 clubs have met the 85% vaccination threshold (that number is now up to 10). According to USA Today’s Jori Epstein, the Cowboys may not be one of them, and aren’t expected to be by time they leave Texas for Oxnard, CA. Unless they’ve had a rash of vaccinations (no pun intended) in the last four days, they will not be functioning under relaxed protocols once they arrive.

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As has just been witnessed by the postponing of the second-half kickoff MLB game between the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox, COVID-19 infections within pro teams are still a thing. Aaron Judge was among six positive tests, and he is only two days removed from the All-Star game in Colorado. Washington Wizards’ guard Bradley Beal just saw his dreams of competing in the Olympics dashed as well.

In the NFL, teams which reach the 85% vaccination threshold have extremely lessened restrictions on how they can move and operate. The details, just like who and who isn’t vaccinated, are sketchy, but baseball’s threshold included things like being able to eat out on the road, locker room proximity and being maskless in shared spaces.

Teams above the threshold will have fewer restrictions once camps open. Pelissero added that 71% of players league-wide have had at least one shot on Monday and as of Thursday that number had increased to 73%.

Two weeks ahead of most training camp reporting dates, Monday was the deadline for players to get their second shot (or a single shot of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine) to clear the window to be considered fully vaccinated.

The restrictions for non-vaccinated players — including daily testing (even during byes), masks, limits on the number of players in rooms, not being able to eat in the cafeteria, etc. — are significant. It will be interesting to see if players who have declined to get the vaccine will change course once training camps open and they see the restrictions firsthand.

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