Cleveland Browns center JC Tretter (64) and Cleveland Browns offensive tackle Jack Conklin (78) take the field before NFL football practice, Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2021, in Berea, Ohio. [Jeff Lange/Beacon Journal]

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NFLPA prez on COVID-19: League in ‘worse spot’ than ’20

NFL Players Association President and Cleveland Browns starting center JC Tretter said Tuesday the league is “in a worse spot” than last year due to the reduction of daily testing for COVID-19.

Tretter made the claim in his President’s Corner letter to the players.

“Despite our vaccination rates being extremely high, we have seen that the Delta variant can infect and spread among vaccinated people,” Tretter penned. “That means, at the moment, we are in a worse spot this year than last year because the NFL has backed off a key component of our previous success: daily testing.”

The NFLPA backs daily testing for all players, not just unvaccinated players.

“Clubs have been instructed to test fully vaccinated players and staff over the course of three days each week,” Tretter wrote. “This then leaves 4-6 days where we don’t know if a vaccinated individual is positive for COVID and shedding virus to those around him.

“Recently, Tennessee finished up with 14 positives – and the team was 97% vaccinated at that time. It’s not hard to realize how devastating that would be during a week of the regular season. Yet, incidents like this have flown under the radar because players missing training camp practices or preseason games isn’t big news.”

Games getting forfeited or canceled, however, is the “worst-case scenario that we should all be actively working to avoid.”

“We are all tired,” Tretter concluded. “No one likes mitigation methods. But we cannot do what is easy over what is right. We cannot do what is cheaper over what is right. We have been warned by our experts that, because of our current testing cadence, we are at more risk of missed games this season than last season. If we continue to go down this path, I need everyone in the football community to be aware of what lies ahead.”

Tretter also addressed the new taunting point of emphasis, making it clear the NFLPA did not push for the change and in fact “would support the removal of this point of emphasis immediately.”

“Don’t blame the players who show too much emotion, and cut the refs a break for doing their jobs. Blame the people who push for rules like this time and time again,” Tretter wrote. “In 2006, the NFL wanted to eliminate touchdown celebrations — a move that most players, fans and media members thought was a bad idea. It took the fans continuing to push back for the league to finally give in and allow everyone to have a little more fun. This is the league’s second bite at the apple and if fans want to see more emotion, I encourage them to continue to voice that to the league.”

–Field Level Media

Feb 7, 2020; Tampa, FL, USA;  General view of the NFL Shield logo on the field before Super Bowl LV between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Kansas City Chiefs at Raymond James Stadium.  Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

NFL, NFLPA agree to weekly COVID testing for vaccinated players

The NFL and the NFL Players Association agreed Monday that vaccinated players and team staff members will now undergo COVID testing once every seven days.

Previously, the NFL’s vaccinated personnel had been required to take a COVID test once every 14 days. The testing now will take place each week on the three days following a game.

All unvaccinated players will continue to be tested daily. Vaccinated players with vulnerable cohabitants can choose to be tested daily, as well.

As of last week, approximately 93 percent of NFL players and 99 percent of staff members were fully vaccinated. Those numbers are expected to change as NFL teams continue to trim their rosters with the start of the regular season approaching.

–Field Level Media

Feb 7, 2020; Tampa, FL, USA;  General view of the NFL Shield logo on the field before Super Bowl LV between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Kansas City Chiefs at Raymond James Stadium.  Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

NFL pushing for mandatory vaccinations for players

The NFL on Thursday said it has been pushing for a vaccination mandate for players amid dueling proposals with the NFLPA about a new cadence for testing the vaccinated.

The comments by NFL general counsel Larry Ferazini came during a media teleconference regarding the state of the league’s COVID preparedness ahead of the 2021 season. The first regular season game is two weeks from Thursday.

“We would still love to see that mandate go into effect tomorrow,” Ferazani said.

However, union president and Cleveland Browns center JC Tretter said Wednesday that the league never asked for a mandate.

“It’s the NFL’s choice on the mandate,” Tretter told ESPN Radio. “They didn’t enforce one. There was never really any talk about having a mandate.”

The NFL’s Chief Medical Officer Allen Sills said Thursday that nearly 93 percent of all NFL players have been vaccinated, leaving roughly 200 players leaguewide who remain unvaccinated.

With that as a backdrop, the NFL is proposing to test vaccinated players weekly vs. bi-weekly while the NFLPA wants daily testing for vaccinated and unvaccinated alike. (Unvaccinated players already get tested daily.)

“The COVID environment is constantly changing and our success last year was built not only on a foundation of cooperation, but more importantly, on listening to our experts,” the NFLPA said in a statement to ESPN on Thursday. “It is clear with what we know about the Delta variant and with what we have seen already with clubs, testing needs to be a greater focal point.”

That testing cadence would seem to be the battlefield as Tretter said Wednesday that the ship has sailed on a vax mandate.

“I think that time has already passed,” Tretter said on ESPN Radio. “The NFL is not mandating the vaccine for players so I don’t think there’s any going back on that at this point. I think we move forward how that is.

“We know the protocols we used last year worked, got us through a season. So we’ll continue to refine those protocols, continue to enforce those protocols. That’s our goal again, to get through a season, avoid transmission within the building; that’s what caused us problems last year.”

–Field Level Media

Jan 24, 2021; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; A sign featuring Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) with COVID-19 protocol is seen before the AFC Championship Game against the Buffalo Bills at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

No players test positive in NFL’s latest COVID-19 results

No NFL players tested positive in the most recent round of COVID-19 testing, the league and the NFL Players Association announced Tuesday.

There was one positive test among other team personnel in the Jan. 24-30 testing period.

In all, 2,567 tests were administered to 152 players and 278 team personnel in advance of Super Bowl LV, set for Sunday between the Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Tampa.

Throughout the testing period from Aug. 1 through Jan. 30, approximately 957,400 tests were administered. During that time, 262 players and 463 other personnel had confirmed positive cases.

–Field Level Media

Oct 18, 2020; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  An usher holds a sign as a  reminder of COVID-19 restrictions in place for fans during the game between the Cleveland Browns and the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field. Pittsburgh won 38-7. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Latest NFL testing produces 25 positives (three players)

The National Football League and NFL Players Association reported 25 positive COVID-19 tests during the first week of the postseason.

Three players and 22 staff members tested positive during the period from Jan. 3-9, down from 70 positive tests in the final week of the regular season.

There were 17,459 tests administered to 2,933 players and team personnel. Among those, 6,850 tests were administered to 1,037 players and 10,609 tests were conducted among 1,896 personnel.

Since monitoring began on Aug. 1, a total of 259 players and 454 other personnel have had confirmed positive tests for COVID-19. Approximately 939,680 tests were administered through Jan. 9.

Testing will continue among the eight teams that remain in the playoffs.

–Field Level Media

Dec 26, 2020; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Detroit Lions acting head coach Robert Prince sprints down the field with wide receiver Mohamed Sanu (12) before a game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Ford Field. Prince assumed the head coaching duties for the game after Lions interim head coach Darrell Bevell was deemed a high-risk close contact to a confirmed COVID-19 positive case. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

COVID-19 positives rise again in NFL

The National Football League and NFL Players Association reported 70 positive COVID-19 tests in the most recent testing period, up from 58 last week.

A total of 34 players and 36 staff members tested positive during the period from Dec. 27-Jan. 2.

There were 40,709 tests administered to 6,702 players and team personnel. Among those, 16,088 tests were administered to 2,356 players, with an additional 24,621 tests conducted among 4,346 personnel.

Since monitoring began on Aug. 1, a total of 256 players and 432 other personnel have had confirmed positive tests for COVID-19. Approximately 922,220 tests were administered through Jan. 2.

Testing will continue among the 14 teams that have qualified for the playoffs.

–Field Level Media

Aug 24, 2020; Costa Mesa California, USA; A face mask advisory sign at Los Angeles Chargers training camp amid the global coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic at the Jack Hammett Sports Complex. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Positive tests for NFL players top 200 for the season

The National Football League and NFL Players Association reported 45 positive COVID-19 tests in the past week, the same number for a third straight week.

A total of 14 players and 31 staff members tested positive during the period from Dec. 13-19.

Those were the exact numbers for the week of Dec. 6-12, while the 45 positives from Nov. 29-Dec. 5 included 18 players and 27 team personnel.

On the latest report, the league and union said 41,501 tests were administered to a total of 6,927 players and team personnel. Among those, 16,222 tests were administered to 2,391 players and 25,279 tests were given to 4,536 personnel.

Since monitoring began Aug. 1, 201 players and 359 other personnel have had confirmed positives for COVID-19. Approximately 840,460 tests have been administered through Dec. 19.

–Field Level Media

Oct 18, 2020; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh talks with defensive end Jihad Ward (53) against the Philadelphia Eagles  at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

NFL reports 45 new positive COVID-19 tests over past week

The National Football League and NFL Players Association reported 45 positive COVID-19 tests in the past week, holding steady from last week.

Testing for the period from Dec. 6-12 found 14 players tested positive, along with 31 from other team personnel. Last week, there were 18 positive tests among players and 27 among other personnel — a drop from about 75 each of the previous two weeks.

On the new report, the league and union said 41,857 tests were administered to a total of 6,960 players and team personnel. Among those, 16,340 tests were administered to 2,389 players and 25,517 tests were given to 4,571 personnel.

Since monitoring began Aug. 1, 187 players and 328 other personnel have had confirmed positives for COVID-19. Approximately 795,960 tests have been administered through Dec. 12.

The NFL enacted intensive protocols last month to help mitigate and contain the spread of COVID-19 within the league.

–Field Level Media

Nov 1, 2020; Baltimore, Maryland, USA;  A member of M&T Bank Stadium security holds up a sign reminding patrons to wear masks during a game between the Pittsburgh Steelers amd Baltimore Ravens. Mandatory Credit: Mitchell Layton-USA TODAY Sports

NFL reports 45 new COVID cases in leaguewide testing

The NFL and NFL Players Association reported 45 new positive COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, down from about 75 each of the past two weeks.

Testing for the period from Nov. 29-Dec. 5 resulted in 18 positive tests among players and 27 among other personnel.

On this latest report, the league and union said 41,669 tests were administered to a total of 7,012 players and team personnel. Among those, 16,475 tests were administered to 2,427 players and 25,194 tests were given to 4,585 personnel.

Since monitoring began Aug. 1, 173 players and 297 other personnel have had confirmed positives for COVID-19. Approximately 757,100 tests have been administered through Nov. 28.

The NFL enacted intensive protocols last month to help mitigate and contain the spread of COVID-19 within the league.

–Field Level Media

Nov 1, 2020; Baltimore, Maryland, USA;  A member of M&T Bank Stadium security holds up a sign reminding patrons to wear masks during a game between the Pittsburgh Steelers amd Baltimore Ravens. Mandatory Credit: Mitchell Layton-USA TODAY Sports

NFL tops 50 positive tests for 2nd straight week

The NFL and NFL Players Association reported more than 50 positive COVID-19 cases for the second consecutive week on Tuesday.

Testing for the period from Nov. 8-14 resulted in 52 new cases: 17 among players and 35 among other personnel.

There were 56 confirmed positive tests in the previous monitoring period from Nov. 1-7 (15 players, 41 personnel).

On this latest report, the league and union said 43,148 tests were administered to a total of 7,856 players and team personnel. Among those, 17,161 tests were administered to 2,482 players and 25,987 tests were given to 5,374 personnel.

Since monitoring began Aug. 1, 95 players and 175 other personnel have had confirmed positives for COVID-19. Approximately 645,000 tests have been administered through Nov. 14.

–Field Level Media