NFL, NFLPA Agree to Updated COVID-19 Protocols amid Outbreaks

Adam WellsDecember 16, 2021

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 20:  Roger Goodell  speaks onstage during the Robin Hood Benefit at Jacob Javits Center on October 20, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Robin Hood Foundation)
Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Robin Hood Foundation

Amid ongoing COVID-19 concerns across the league, the NFL and NFL Players Association have agreed to updated health and safety protocols. 

In a statement released on Thursday, the NFL announced, effective immediately, all 32 teams "will implement preventative measures that have proven effective," including wearing masks regardless of vaccination status, remote or outdoor meetings and no outside visitors for teams traveling. 

Tom Pelissero @TomPelissero

The NFL and NFLPA have agreed to updated COVID protocols. Statement from the league: <a href="https://t.co/PyIYspmcTh">pic.twitter.com/PyIYspmcTh</a>

The league also announced that fully vaccinated individuals who have a confirmed positive COVID-19 test will then be tested every day until they return two negative tests 24 hours apart as long as they remain asymptomatic:

Albert Breer @AlbertBreer

Here are the details from that memo on vaccinated players coming back from positive tests. It’s complicated, so I’ll give you all the language, for the 3 of you that are interested. <a href="https://t.co/cZwaLRUBcL">pic.twitter.com/cZwaLRUBcL</a>

NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported last month that the NFL was going to implement heightened safety protocols after Thanksgiving, including mandatory masking from Nov. 25-Dec. 1 and testing players and team staffers twice in a three-day span on Nov. 29 and Dec. 1.

Thursday's announcement comes one day after the NFLPA posted a message on Twitter calling for the NFL to implement daily testing for all players, regardless of vaccination status. 

Per NFL.com's Judy Battista, COVID-19 protocols was a significant topic of conversation during the NFL's winter meetings this week. 

Battista noted "around 100 players" tested positive in a three-day span from Monday-Wednesday, with most of the positive results coming from fully vaccinated individuals. 

The Cleveland Browns have placed 14 players, including quarterback Baker Mayfield, in COVID-19 protocols so far this week. Head coach Kevin Stefanski and running backs coach Ryan Cordell tested positive for the virus, per an announcement from the team.

Per Battista, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has said there is no discussion of postponing any games at this point. The Browns are scheduled to host the Las Vegas Raiders on Saturday.