NFL Hopes Players, Coaches Get COVID-19 Vaccine; 'No Intention' to Require It

Blake SchusterSenior Analyst IIIMarch 25, 2021

The NFL shield / logo is seen on a goal post during an NFL football game between the Tennessee Titans and the Houston Texans, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021, in Houston. (AP Photo/Matt Patterson)
Matt Patterson/Associated Press

NFL chief medical officer Dr. Allen Sills hopes players, coaches and staffers will choose to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, though it isn't expected to be a requirement. 

As relayed by ESPN's Kevin Seifert, Sills said Thursday on the NFL Network that the league has "no intention" to require the vaccine. The NFL is, however, working on combating vaccine hesitancy. 

"What we are focusing on is education," Sills said. "We want everyone to have the facts."

During next month's draft, the league will require less of teams filling their war rooms with vaccinated individuals than clubs that will host vaccinated and non-vaccinated staffers on draft day. 

"You'll see vaccinated individuals be able to have certain privileges," Sills said. "And certain precautions that are lifted that won't apply to unvaccinated individuals." 

This could quickly become one of the next major sticking points between the NFL and Players Association. According to ESPN's Chris Mortensen, the union is advocating for a fully virtual offseason—as was the case in 2020—to allow the vaccine rollout to continue and give the infection rate across the country more time to decline. 

Meanwhile, Seifert noted "owners believe daily testing will not be necessary this summer in training camp," with most players having become eligible for the vaccine. 

It's unclear if individual clubs will mandate their employees receive the vaccination before returning to team facilities.