Every member of the Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers is fully vaccinated, head coach Bruce Arians said Thursday.
“We’re 100% vaccinated — our entire organization — all the players, all the coaches, everybody,” Arians said.
The Buccaneers join their NFC South division rival Atlanta Falcons as the only NFL teams to proclaim 100 percent vaccination. Dr. Allen Sills, the NFL chief medical officer, said more than 93 percent of the players in the league are on schedule to be fully vaccinated by Week 1.
Arians said privately and repeatedly publicly he wanted the Buccaneers to treat COVID as an opponent and not take unnecessary chances in a state where the positive cases and hospitalizations were at record highs in August.
Several players were slower to come around to the idea of receiving the COVID-19 vaccination. Running back Leonard Fournette said he was not interested in the vaccine at the outset of training camp. After consideration, he said he decided it was the right thing to do.
“People are still catching it, but it makes it a lot better to have the shot,” Fournette said. “We need every hand in here for these next couple big games we’ve got coming up.”
On Thursday, kicker Ryan Succop was activated from the COVID/reserve list. He’s the lone player in the organization to test positive, and the result came after he had dinner with visiting players from the Tennessee Titans last week.
Recently, the Titans have had at least 10 players in COVID-19 protocols.
Arians told players he doesn’t care what the NFL sets forth as protocols, because his rules will be more stringent.
“There’s league rules and then there’s my rules,” Arians said. “We ain’t going anywhere (in terms of players mingling with the general population). We’re the same as last year. I don’t give a crap if they’re vaccinated or not. They ain’t going anywhere.”
–Field Level Media