05/07 12:56 CDT AP source: No cutting players because they are unvaccinated
AP source: No cutting players because they are unvaccinated
By BARRY WILNER
AP Pro Football Writer
An NFL team can't release a player simply because he is not vaccinated for
COVID-19, a person with direct knowledge of the league's directive told The
Associated Press on Friday.
Buffalo Bills general manager Brandon Beane hypothetically suggested this week
that he'd do so if it would provide more freedom within the team facilities for
meetings and offseason programs.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the league did not make the
directive public. The NFL currently is formulating further plans and protocols
for the offseason programs and training camp.
"A team may not release a player solely due to vaccination status," the person
On Wednesday, Beane's response was to a question about potentially cutting a
player at the lower end of Buffalo's 53-man roster. It came when the NFL is
loosening its restrictions for teams whose staff and players have been fully
"You guys saw it in the fieldhouse, we had three and four meetings going on,
and sometimes you're talking over each other. But it was the only way to pull
it off and be social distant," he said of NFL protocols limiting the number of
players who could meet at one time. "So it would be an advantage to cut a
player and fall under that umbrella" of less restrictive protocols.
Last year, teams were limited to hosting most meetings via Zoom, with
restrictions placed on how many players and coaches could gather at one time.
Team officials and players were also required to undergo daily COVID-19 testing
and wear masks.
Beane expects those restrictions to be loosened, while noting the rules have
yet to be determined.
"I think there's going to be some incentives. If you have 'X' number of percent
of your players and staff vaccinated, you can live normal, let's call it ---
back to the the old days," he said.
"If you don't, it's going to look more like last year," Beane added. "But I
hope, if those are the rules, that we'll be able to get enough people to be
vaccinated and not have to deal with all the headaches."
The NFL and NFL Players Association are encouraging, but not mandating players
to get vaccinated.
AP Sports Writer John Wawrow contributed.
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