Urban Meyer says vaccination status was considered when cutting players

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Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer watches play against the Dallas Cowboys in the first half of a preseason NFL football game in Arlington, Texas, Sunday, Aug. 29, 2021. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP/WBTW) — Jacksonville Jaguars Head Coach Urban Meyer said Tuesday that vaccination status was considered when cutting players.

“Everyone was considered. That was part of the production, let’s start talking about this and also, ‘Is he vaccinated or not?’ Can I say that that was a decision-maker? It was certainly in consideration,” Meyer said.

According to ESPN, players are not allowed to be cut because of vaccination status, but Meyer said it wasn’t the deciding factor, only that it was considered. The NFL has strict protocols in place for unvaccinated players compared to the protocols for vaccinated players.

Vaccinated players who test positive or come into contact with a positive case can return sooner than unvaccinated players. According to ESPN, vaccinated players are tested weekly, while unvaccinated players are tested daily.

ESPN reports unvaccinated players who test positive will have to miss 10 days and then have a three-day return to play period, while vaccinated players who test positive will also have to miss 10 days, but are allowed to return sooner if they have two negative PCR tests 24 hours apart. The least amount of time an unvaccinated player could miss would be five days.

Meyer pointed to defensive end Josh Allen missing one week because of protocols. Allen, who is not vaccinated, was activated from the COVID-19 list Monday.

“Well, Josh Allen’s never had (COVID),” Meyer said. “He’s not played in two weeks. So he’s never had COVID. I don’t know if I’m allowed to say that, but he’s never had COVID. So that’s pretty punitive.”

Cam Newton was released by the New England Patriots Tuesday. Newton is not vaccinated and recently missed practice time because of COVID-19 protocols. It’s unknown whether that factored into New England’s decision to let him go.

ESPN reports that the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) has opened an investigation.

The NFL says 93% of players are vaccinated for COVID-19 and the league wanted mandatory vaccination but the NFLPA wouldn’t agreed to it.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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