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The NFL returns to enhanced COVID-19 protocols for all teams; allows easier return for asymptomatic players

Omicron updates

Washington Football Team v Denver Broncos Photo by Justin Tafoya/Getty Images

The NFL is seeing unprecedented numbers of players testing positive for COVID-19, and it believes that a lot of them are due to the latest variant, Omicron. Most of the players testing positive have been vaccinated and are asymptomatic. The problem is that these players were continuing to test positive, and not allowed to return under the NFL’s policy. A vaccinated player could return to their team after two negative tests 24 hours apart, or after the 10 day isolation period that unvaccinated players have to go through. The Washington Football Team has had 22 players placed on the Reserve COVID-19 list over the last 8 days with only one(CB Darryl Roberts) being cleared.

Owners had a scheduled meeting yesterday, and this was obviously a big topic of discussion. The NFL and the NFLPA have reportedly agreed on some new rules to adjust to the Omicron variant, and the ever-changing realities of the pandemic. All 32 teams will go into the enhanced protocols that Washington, and other teams experiencing multiple positive tests, have been in this week. That means masking regardless of vaccination status, remote or outdoor meetings, eliminating in-person meals, and no outside visitors while on team travel. They are also encouraging players to get booster shots.

The rule change that will interest Washington fans is that adjustments to the requirements for vaccinated players to return to their teams after testing positive for COVID-19. That could be possible as soon as the day after the player tests positive if they are asymptomatic. The issue still remains that many players continue to test positive, and won’t be cleared until they return a negative test.