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NFL called Bills GM about comment on cutting unvaccinated player

5/7/2021 6:59:36 PM
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To the surprise of no one, Buffalo Bills General Manager Brandon Beane received a call from the league office about his comments earlier in the week about whether he would hypothetically release an unvaccinated player if it meant the team reaching a league-imposed minimum percentage of vaccinated individuals according to Dan Graziano of ESPN.

The message delivered to Beane according to Graziano's source was that a team cannot release a player solely because of vaccination status.  The NFL and NFLPA have not finalized the coronavirus-related workplace guidelines for this offseason and the 2021 season. But in various memos to teams, the league has said that vaccinated individuals will be able to enjoy more relaxed COVID-19 protocols than unvaccinated ones -- i.e., COVID-19 testing weekly instead of daily, lack of quarantine requirements if deemed a close contact of an infected individual and more freedom to gather with others outside of the team facility.  The NFL has said it will not require players to be vaccinated but has directed its teams to educate all players and staff about vaccines and to encourage them to get vaccinated.

Beane's point was a valid one-he was presented with a scenario  in which the Bills were one player from reaching an undefined percentage of vaccinated players and was asked whether he would cut an unvaccinated player to return to normalcy.  "We're laughing, but these meetings [last season] were not as productive as before," Beane said. "You guys saw it in the field house -- sometimes we'd have three to four meetings going on, and sometimes you're talking over each other. But it was the only way to pull it off and be socially distanced.  So it would be an advantage to cut a player and fall under that umbrella."

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