Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians delivered a stunning quote about the NFL’s plan to play amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking with the Tampa Bay Times, Arians made it clear he doesn’t think any player will avoid sickness: “We’ve got to be careful,” Arians said. “The players, they’re going to all get sick, that’s for sure. It’s just a matter of how sick they get.”
Arians and the Bucs have some experience with the coronavirus pandemic already. Tampa Bay announced last month that an undisclosed numbers of players tested positive for COVID-19.
That took place long before the players were even allowed at team facilities, too. Once training camp starts up in late July, it’s going to be even harder to keep the coronavirus from spreading.
Complicating matters even more, the state of Florida is one of the worst-hit states right now in terms of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Incredibly, on Tuesday the state-wide positive rate was a stunning 20.8% — setting a record.
To date, Florida has seen nearly 214,000 infections, with roughly half of that total coming in recent weeks. Hillsborough County, where Tampa is, has seen its total go past 15,000 infections, per WUSF News.
The NFLPA came out with a strongly worded statement, through president J.C. Tretter, on Tuesday that indicates the players and NFL itself are far apart when it comes to health and safety issues.
The NFLs unwillingness to follow the recommendations of its own experts will put this season and the safety of all players at risk. This year must look differently if we hope to play a full season and crown a Super Bowl Champion. Read: https://t.co/lp7vFYFFjN— JC Tretter (@JCTretter) July 7, 2020
Other players have made it clear they are uncomfortable with the idea of playing amid the pandemic. This includes Ezekiel Elliott of the Dallas Cowboys, who said there are significant questions that must be answered, and Malcolm Jenkins of the New Orleans Saints.
Considering the fact that at least one head coach (Arians) thinks every player will get sick, it appears they have every reason to be concerned.
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1944 featured Co-coaches, 1961 featured 3 Co-coaches and there are 2 members on the list who had multiple tours with the team.