The NFL and NFL Players Association are not mandating players be vaccinated to participate in official league-related activities or the upcoming season, but commissioner Roger Goodell reiterated to owners ahead of the Memorial Day weekend that essential staff members in direct contact with players are to be vaccinated unless they can claim a legitimate exemption for health or religious reasons.
NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reports assistant coaches from at least four teams could lose their Tier 1 status because of their continued refusal to get COVID-19 vaccine shots. Unless they receive jabs by the end of next week, they will be banned from having direct interactions with players and also from meeting rooms and fields.
The NFL allows unvaccinated individuals to keep Tier 1/2 status if they provide a valid medical or religious reason, but has advised teams to consider restricting their access. For many coaches, there are two choices as of now: Get vaccinated or spend the season in your office.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) June 4, 2021
Vaccination rates among NFL players remain low compared to staff league-wide, but it’s not mandatory for players, only Tier 1/2 staff. So an unvaccinated player can interact with a vaccinated coach but not vice versa. The NFL and NFLPA continue to negotiate protocols.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) June 4, 2021
Here’s a breakdown from last week’s memo of the new restrictions that go into effect Monday. The league has made clear it does not expect to roll back these restrictions at any point during the 2021 season, even for those granted an exemption. pic.twitter.com/VArIvbn3zC— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) June 4, 2021
Pelissero's report isn't clear how many assistants, if any, could be exempt from receiving one of the available vaccines, but Pro Football Talk's Michael David Smith asked an obvious question likely to come up among staff members as spring turns to summer: Just how much is an assistant coach worth if he's not willing to do something to be in close proximity to players during training-camp sessions and, perhaps, the season?