Isaiah McKenzie Gets COVID-19 Vaccine After Being Fined by NFL for Mask Violation

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVAugust 28, 2021

CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 21: Buffalo Bills wide receiver Isaiah McKenzie (19) runs with the football during a preseason game between the Chicago Bears and the Buffalo Bills on August 21, 2021 at Soldier Field in Chicago, IL. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Buffalo Bills wide receiver and return man Isaiah McKenzie received a COVID-19 vaccination Saturday, just days after getting fined by the NFL for not wearing a mask at the team facility.

McKenzie posted a photo of himself on his Instagram story holding up a vaccination card along with the caption "For the greater good."

Jon Scott @JonScottTV

Isaiah McKenzie just posted this on Instagram, days after being fined by NFL for mask violation as unvaccinated player. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Bills?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Bills</a> <a href="https://t.co/LtVfVNPtWe">pic.twitter.com/LtVfVNPtWe</a>

On Thursday, McKenzie tweeted a photo of a letter from the NFL that indicated he had been fined for not wearing a mask in the field house and training room and a meeting area:

Isaiah McKenzie @_IsaiahMcKenzie

They got me! <a href="https://twitter.com/NFL?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NFL</a> you win! <a href="https://t.co/Ewt498wmsy">pic.twitter.com/Ewt498wmsy</a>

McKenzie later tweeted that he had been fined $14,650.

McKenzie's teammate and fellow wide receiver Cole Beasley tweeted Thursday that he had also been fined by the NFL for not wearing a mask:

Cole Beasley @Bease11

Don’t worry they got me too. But I was wearing a mask when I was in close contact with fully vaxxed trainer who tested positive and still got sent home. So what’s the point of the mask anyways? Meanwhile I’m here still testing negative and can’t come back. Make it make sense. <a href="https://t.co/VGzoy0ljb4">https://t.co/VGzoy0ljb4</a>

Beasley has been outspoken in his opposition to the COVID-19 vaccine throughout the offseason.

While the numbers aren't publicly known, the Bills may have among the lowest vaccination rates in the NFL.

Per Jay Skurski of the Buffalo News, Bills general manager Brandon Beane said this week that around 80 percent of the team's players were vaccinated.

Skurski noted that a Washington Post report put the leaguewide vaccination rate among players at 92.7 percent with only four teams below 89 percent.

It appears Buffalo is one of them, which could turn out to be a significant issue. The Bills have Super Bowl aspirations after going 13-3 and reaching the AFC Championship Game last season behind quarterback and NFL MVP runner-up Josh Allen.

The 26-year-old McKenzie is likely fifth on the wide receiver depth chart, but he is a useful gadget player in the offense, and he set career highs last season with 30 receptions for 282 yards and five touchdowns. He also returned a punt for a touchdown for the first time in his career.

With three-time Pro Bowl returner Andre Roberts having left the Bills for the Houston Texans in free agency, McKenzie is in the mix to fill that role in 2021.

He is primarily competing with rookie sixth-round pick Marquez Stevenson, who has returned a punt for a touchdown during the preseason.

McKenzie suffered a shoulder injury Tuesday in practice. The timeline for his return to action remains unclear.

Regardless, he seems like a safe bet to make the team based on what he contributes on offense and special teams.