The Bears put nose tackle Eddie Goldman, long snapper Patrick Scales, linebacker Christian Jones and tackle Elijah Wilkinson on the reserve/COVID-19 list Tuesday. They have not added players since, and coach Matt Nagy said the hopes that there will be no other positive tests.
Wilkinson is not vaccinated; it’s unclear if the other three are, though presumably they would not have been tested Tuesday had they been vaccinated. The NFL has two different sets of rules for players depending on their vaccination status. Vaccinated players who test positive can return any time after two negative tests, while unvaccinated players must isolate for 10 days. Vaccinated players don’t have to isolate if they are ruled a high-risk close contact of someone who is infected, while unvaccinated players must isolate for five days after a close contact.
Bears quarterback coach John DeFilippo, who is vaccianted, quarantined for the first five days of camp because of the coronavirus but returned earlier this week. Nagy stressed that “we are not back to 2019” when it comes to protocols.
“This isn’t a football thing,” Nagy said. “This is a worldwide thing.”
Since July 25, teams have tested 2,528 players and 4,549 staff members, the NFLPA wrote in a memo sent to players Wednesday. Of the 65 positive cases, 32 were among vaccinated people. Citing the speedy spread of the Delta variant, the NFLPA said it will recommend increasing the frequency of tests among vaccinated players — up from once every two weeks to once a day. The NFL would have to agree to any change in testing frequency.
Bears tight end Jimmy Graham posted part of the memo on Twitter and wrote the following: “Was basically forced into getting the vaccine. Now I’m just confused.”
Graham’s issue, he explained, was that he could be fined a maximum $150,000 for missing daily coronavirus tests even though he’s vaccinated.
“How’s the punishment 100 [times] worse than last year and I’m vaccinated now?” he wrote.