NFL Says 83.6% of Players Have Gotten COVID-19 Vaccine; 10 Teams Have 90% or More

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVJuly 26, 2021

CLEVELAND, OHIO - APRIL 29: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell stands onstage during round one of the 2021 NFL Draft at the Great Lakes Science Center on April 29, 2021 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

All 32 NFL teams have at least 60 percent of their players vaccinated against COVID-19, while 10 clubs have crossed the 90 percent threshold.

Tom Pelissero of NFL Network reported the updated figures Monday, including that 83.6 percent of all players have received at least one vaccine shot ahead of the 2021 season.

Although the NFL has stopped short of requiring a COVID-19 vaccine in order to play this season, the rules it has put in place make in clear it wants as many players vaccinated as possible.

In June, the league announced the coronavirus protocols would be drastically reduced for vaccinated players during training camp and the preseason, including an elimination of daily testing and the need for mask wearing or social distancing in the team facilities. Unvaccinated players must continue the strict guidelines that were in place throughout the 2020 season.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell sent a memo last week that explained potential punishments for a COVID-19 outbreak among unvaccinated players or staff members, which included severe financial penalties and a potential forfeit for the team with the outbreak if it is unable to play a game. If a contest is canceled, players on both teams will lose that week's paycheck.

On Saturday, league spokesperson Brian McCarthy confirmed to ESPN's Jenna Laine that unvaccinated players will be fined $14,650 for every violation of COVID-19 protocols.

Several players have continued to say they won't receive the vaccine. Buffalo Bills wide receiver Cole Beasley, one of the most outspoken critics of the rules, posted a response after Goodell's memo:

Cole Beasley @Bease11

Nothing has changed. I’m still livin freely. Goodnight.

In May, the league told teams they can't cut players solely based on their vaccination status, a topic that was raised after Bills general manager Brandon Beane suggested the prospect of doing so if it meant less restrictions on the organization, per Pelissero.

The NFL preseason will kick off Aug. 5 when the Dallas Cowboys and Pittsburgh Steelers face off in the Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio. The regular season is scheduled to begin Sept. 9 when the Cowboys visit the reigning Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

It's the first year of a 17-game regular season, and the league's memo said there are no plans to add an extra week at the end of the campaign to accommodate COVID-19 postponements.