Bruce Arians Says Buccaneers Will Implement Own COVID-19 Rules for Team Road Trips

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVAugust 25, 2021

Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians before an NFL preseason football game against the Cincinnati Bengals Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark LoMoglio)
AP Photo/Mark LoMoglio

Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians will implement strict rules for his team this season to prevent COVID-19 outbreaks.

"For us, life is not normal," Arians said Wednesday, per Jenna Laine of ESPN. "We're pretty much under the same protocols—we're going to be under the same protocols as last year. Because that's the way it is, especially living here."

The decision comes after kicker Ryan Succop tested positive for COVID-19 following a dinner with several members of the Tennessee Titans, Arians explained:

"Tennessee coming in and going out to dinner—they found out the hard way. So did Ryan. You can only tell them so much. Once we get to 53—even this weekend—our guys are going to make a bunch of sacrifices that you have to make now. Families at the hotel, all those things—they're all out the window."

Succop was vaccinated and did not break any NFL protocols by going out to dinner with Titans players.

The league has different policies for unvaccinated players, including restrictions on travel and extra testing. Teams could also be required to forfeit if they are responsible for a game being canceled.

Arians indicated his entire team will now avoid high-risk situations.

"There's league rules and then there's my rules," the coach said. "We ain't going anywhere. We're the same as last year. I don't give a crap if they're vaccinated or not. They ain't going anywhere."

Arians recently said he expects the team to be 100 percent vaccinated "by the time we get to 53."

The cautious approach could give the Buccaneers a competitive advantage if all of their players can stay active while those on other teams are forced to spend time on the reserve/COVID-19 list.

Tampa Bay is looking to become the first team since the 2003-04 New England Patriots to repeat as Super Bowl champions. The Buccaneers return nearly their entire roster from last season with Tom Brady still under center after winning his seventh title.