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NFL outlines COVID-19 vaccination protocols as players union resists in-person voluntary workouts

Mike Jones, USA TODAY
·2 min read
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The NFL has laid out team guidelines for COVID-19 vaccinations and is strongly urging franchises to have all employees vaccinated.

Commissioner Roger Goodell told teams in a memo Tuesday to plan on using stadiums or team headquarters as vaccination centers for their players, employees and family members.

Teams must report their vaccination plans to the NFL and update the league weekly on vaccination figures.

The memo instructed that any Tier 1 and Tier 2 employees who decline vaccinations without "bona fide medical or religious grounds" should have limited access to facilities and be barred from working directly with players.

In this file photo taken on August 24, 2020 The NFL logo is seen on a football packaging in Los Angeles.
In this file photo taken on August 24, 2020 The NFL logo is seen on a football packaging in Los Angeles.

The NFL and NFLPA remain in discussions on the parameters for the offseason workouts, which can begin on Monday. The players union wants this portion of the calendar to take place virtually and for players to not take the field until training camp in July. But the two sides have yet to finalize agreements on how to conduct workouts, meetings and potential practices.

On the heels of NFLPA president and Cleveland Browns center JC Tretter saying the union would encourage players to boycott voluntary workouts, Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks players said Tuesday they would not participate in the sessions.

"Playing in the NFL is a dream of our players who work tirelessly year-round to perform in America's greatest game," the union said in a statement on behalf of Broncos players. "With offseason programs starting in less than a week and without adequate protocols in place in order for us players to return safely, we will be exercising our right to not participate in voluntary offseason workouts. COVID-19 remains a serious threat to our families and to our communities, and it makes no sense for us as players to put ourselves at risk during this dead period.

"Positivity rates in our city are higher than they were at this time last year and we know players have been infected at club facilities in recent weeks. Despite having a completely virtual offseason last year, the quality of play across the NFL was better than ever by almost every measure. We hope players across the NFL work with our union as we did to get all of the facts so every player can make an informed decision."

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: NFL outlines COVID-19 vaccination protocols; Broncos won't work out