For fans eager to see players in pads and on the field this spring, some very good news dropped on Wednesday. In a memo sent from the league to all 32 clubs, the NFL said that teams should be ready to hold virtual meetings once offseason activities open on April 19 but that the workout program likely won’t be fully virtual like it was last season.
Teams are instructed to gather sufficient COVID-19 testing supplies, but that some restrictions (such as daily testing) will be relaxed or even eliminated altogether for players who have been vaccinated through later amendments to the protocol.
Though it seems vaccination will not be mandatory for players, the NFL is attempting to incentivize vaccination with the relaxation of some protocols for teams that reach sufficiently high levels of vaccination. These restrictions apply to meetings, meal times and the locker room. Because of this, the clubs have been told to compile lists of players that have been “fully vaccinated,” which is defined as being two weeks past a dose of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine or both doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.
Though COVID-19 is certainly still a concern for the NFL, this memo seems to be a good sign that things are getting back to normal sooner rather than later.