Only unvaccinated players and those with possible symptoms of COVID-19 will be tested starting Sunday in accordance with the revised NFL protocols.
In addition, high-risk players have until Monday 2:00 pm to send written notice if they choose to opt-out, according to a memo sent to clubs on Saturday and received by the Associated Press. No money will be paid to players and the notification cannot be canceled.
“Medical information clearly indicates that this option is significantly more contagious, but perhaps less serious than previous options, especially for people who are fully vaccinated and have received a booster,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in another aide memo sent clubs. “Our experience with the omicron variant is fully in line with this expectation – while more players and employees are showing positive results, about two-thirds of these people are asymptomatic, most of the remaining people have only mild symptoms, and the virus appears to be positive. … individuals faster than was true with delta or earlier versions. In many ways, the omicron seems to be very different from the one we first encountered in spring 2020. ”
On Friday, due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the league postponed three games scheduled for this weekend: Las Vegas in Cleveland from Saturday to Monday; and Seattle to Los Angeles Rams and Washington DC to Philadelphia Sunday through Tuesday.
In addition to targeted testing plans and opt-out options, the new protocols provide players with more flexibility in virtual meeting attendance.
Earlier this week, the league and the NFL Players’ Association updated protocols to allow asymptomatic vaccinated players to return earlier if they have two negative tests on the same day, or one negative test and an antibody test shows that a person has reached a certain level.
Dr. Tony Casolaro, Washington’s chief physician, said during a conference call that 21 of the team’s 23 players who tested positive could train with mild symptoms.
“We will continue to monitor developments in medicine and public health, both in general and in each club, and will be ready to make additional changes to the protocols depending on the conditions, including to provide more flexibility based on medical considerations,” said Goodell. …
Previously, the NFL had no plans to reschedule any games due to the coronavirus outbreak. It even stated that penalties “could be in the game.” But recent events surrounding the omicron strain COVID-19 have changed the league’s mindset, as have several league outbreaks in week 15 of the season.
The Browns had another positive starting lineman test when they trained indoors on Saturday in preparation for the Raiders.
Rookie James Hudson III has been added to the COVID-19 roster, joining right-back Wyatt Teller and left-tackle Jedric Wills Jr. on the roster, who has reached two dozen players – and 12 players in the starting lineup.
With the league’s relaxing testing protocols, it is possible that the Browns will be able to bring some players back to the days of the Raiders.
“If the guys come back, that’s great,” said coach Kevin Stefanski, who also dropped out after testing positive. “If they don’t, everything will be fine.”
Elsewhere, the Chicago Bears reactivated Eddie Goldman’s nose on the Reservist / COVID-19 List on Saturday, clearing the way for him to play Monday night against Minnesota.
Goldman was listed on Tuesday. Upon activation, the Bears had 12 players, including foster Allen Robinson and quarterback Eddie Jackson.