The world of sports has seen a huge uptick in coronavirus cases in the last few weeks, which coincides with the numbers we’re seeing from around the world as the pandemic rages on. The NFL has seen a record number of positives the last week, and the Chicago Bears have been hit especially hard. They’re now up to 12 players on the Reserve/COVID-19 list with three coaches also away from the team due to positive results.
The latest Chicago players to go on the list are tight end Jesse James, linebacker Joel Iyiegbuniwe, wide out Allen Robinson II, safety Eddie Jackson, running back Ryan Nall, and practice squad receiver Isaiah Coulter. These six join defensive linemen Mario Edwards Jr. and Eddie Goldman, corner Artie Burns, offensive tackles Larry Borom and Elijah Wilkinson, and practice squad outside linebacker Sam Kamara. The coaches out are the three coordinators, Sean Desai, Bill Lazor, and Chris Tabor.
The Chicago Tribune’s Jason Lieser Tweeted out that Robinson, Jackson, Iyiegbuniwe, Borom, Burns and Nall are all vaccinated, which means there’s a chance they can test negative and be able to play on Monday Night against the Minnesota Vikings. Goldman and Edwards are not vaccinated, so they will not be available to play on Monday. Wilkinson is also unvaccinated, but he’s been on the Reserve/COVID-19 list for several weeks now. The vaccination status of James, Coulter, and Kamara is unknown.
The reason a players vaccination status this is newsworthy when it comes to the NFL, is that due to the league protocols unvaccinated players have a longer quarantine time, whereas vaccinated players can test out and be available to play in games sooner.
With cases surging around the nation and the league, the NFL just implemented updates to protocols for teams.
Here’s the NFL’s statement on the updates.
”Throughout the pandemic we have continuously evolved our protocols to meet our goal of advancing the safety of the players, coaches and staff. The changes we are making today aim to address the increase in cases and the advent of the Omicron variant. Effective immediately, all clubs will implement preventative measures that have proven effective: masking regardless of vaccination status, remote or outdoor meetings, eliminating in-person meals, and no outside visitors while on team travel. We will continue to strongly encourage booster shots as the most effective protection. Finally, and based on expert advice, we will adjust the return-to-participation requirements for those who have recovered from COVID-19. All of these changes are grounded in our data and science-backed approach, with safety our number-one goal for the entire NFL community.”