Reports: Cole Popovich’s departure from Patriots related to COVID-19 vaccine

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News came earlier Friday that Cole Popovich no longer is on the Patriots’ coaching staff. Multiple reports since have confirmed the reason is related to the COVID-19 vaccine.

Mike Giardi of NFL Media noted that Popovich was “masked up during the spring sessions.”

All Tier-1 employees, which includes coaches, are required by the NFL to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to work with players in person during practice. The Vikings said they are in discussion with offensive line coach Rick Dennison over the COVID-19 protocols for training camp after ESPN reported the Vikings had fired Dennison over his refusal to be vaccinated.

Popovich, 36, joined the Patriots in 2015 as a coaching assistant. He and Carmen Bricillo shared offensive line coaching duties last season, but Bricillo will handle the job alone this season.

Reports: Cole Popovich’s departure from Patriots related to COVID-19 vaccine originally appeared on Pro Football Talk