On Wednesday, Carolina Panthers head coach Matt Rhule explained he would not be "pressuring" players to receive COVID-19 vaccine shots even though certain health and safety protocols can be lifted if 85% of a team's players are eventually vaccinated.
The head coach of the defending Super Bowl champions was not as understanding when speaking about the topic on Thursday.
When asked if he would follow in the footsteps of Washington Football Team coach Ron Rivera and utilize the services of a medical specialist to convince his players to get vaccinated, Tampa Bay's Bruce Arians made his stance clear: "I'm the specialist."
I asked Bruce Arians if he brought in a specialist to talk to players about the vaccine like coach Ron Rivera did in Washington.— JennaLaineESPN (@JennaLaineESPN) June 10, 2021
“I’M THE SPECIALIST,” Arians said.
He told players, “If you want to go back to normal, get vaccinated.” pic.twitter.com/CDX92Kgsuh
Arians also said the Buccaneers are holding a coronavirus vaccine drive for players and their family members, and he expects to see "a long line" of individuals getting their shots.
"Everybody's tired of meeting out here and eating outside, and doing all those things we had to do last year," he said. "It's still a personal choice, but I don't see a reason not to be vaccinated."
While the NFL and NFL Players Association have publicly stated players cannot be cut simply for not getting vaccinated, the NFL informed teams last week that assistant coaches and other staff members deemed Tier 1 individuals could be banned from having face-to-face contact with players and also shut out of meeting rooms and kept off of practice fields if they aren't vaccinated by the end of this Friday.
Multiple Jacksonville Jaguars assistants received their shots after learning of that memo.