Yesterday, Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer made national headlines for his comments regarding a player’s vaccination status and their ability to make the team’s initial 53-man roster.
Here was Meyer’s full statement on the matter:
“Everyone was considered. That was part of the production, let’s start talking about this, and then also is he vaccinated or not,” Meyer said. “Can I say that that was a decision maker? It was certainly in consideration.”
Those comments drew fire throughout the media, and ultimately sparked an investigation by the NFL Players Association as well.
Today, the Jaguars released a statement following Meyer’s comments, stating that no player was released due to their vaccination status.
“Availability is one of the many factors taken into account when making roster decisions,” the Jaguars said. “We have vaccinated and unvaccinated players on our roster, and no player was released because of their vaccination status.
“Ultimately, decisions are based on a player’s ability to help the Jaguars win. We educate our players and respect personal decisions as it pertains to the vaccine. We want to keep our players, staff and families safe as we comply with protocols related to both health and safety and competition on game days.”
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Jaguars will be in the top five teams with the most unvaccinated players on its roster.
A player that is unvaccinated undergoes different protocols than a player that is vaccinated, including testing for COVID-19 daily. There are also differences in availability of a player that is vaccinated or unvaccinated if they are to come in close contact with a person(s) with COVID-19, too.
For an unvaccinated player that comes in close contact, the player will need to quarantine for five days and will be eligible to return on the sixth day. A vaccinated player does not miss any time for being in close contact.
Those differences could ultimately impact a player’s availability on a week-to-week basis, potentially missing a game if it were to occur on a Wednesday.
The Jaguars and nearly all 31 teams in the NFL will be dealing with this throughout the season, ultimately being in the unknown whether or not an unvaccinated player will be eligible to suit up for the contest.