Jerry Jones expects 90% of players to receive COVID-19 vaccine
Posted On July 22, 2021
OXNARD, California. – Front office members and coaches called players. Head Coach Mike McCarthy shared his initial hesitation and how science won him over. The players exchanged questions and answers, communicating with each other.
The result: The Cowboys expect around 84 of 89 players in their current roster to be vaccinated against COVID-19 soon.
“It was a multi-faceted effort,” Jones said Wednesday morning at a press conference to kick off the Cowboys’ training camp. “From the players’ point of view, from what I call ‘in the pipeline’ that is engaged at different stages, whether they need two vaccines and have one, or whether they are waiting for a while. to get the vaccine and follow the protocol.
“We have a handful in my mind who have yet to go down this path. A grip and a hand are five. It’s uncertain in my mind that several of this hand of five are about to potentially have their vaccine.
“We are very happy with the position of the Dallas Cowboys regarding our competition.”
As with many NFL teams, such vaccine buy-in was not given.
The NFL Network reported on July 12 that seven NFL teams had exceeded the 85% vaccination threshold that other sports leagues have identified to reduce team restrictions. A person with knowledge of the Cowboys’ vaccination rates told USA TODAY Sports that evening that Dallas was not one of those seven. The person, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to publicly disclose the information, said she did not anticipate enough players would receive even the first few doses for the team to clear that bar ahead of training camp.
The NFL has not solidified a team vaccination rate protocol, league spokesman Brian McCarthy told USA TODAY Sports on Wednesday, instead coordinating restrictions on an individual basis. Even after a team vaccines more than 85% of players, any unvaccinated player will be subject to masking, testing and distancing protocols, McCarthy said.
On Monday, the day before the Cowboys left for Oxnard, the person with knowledge of the Cowboys vaccination rate said the club had “a pretty good set of guys who are going to get it recently.”
“My opinion is that (the vaccinations) are not going to limit us in any way … in being competitive as soon as we face Pittsburgh in the first preseason game,” Jerry Jones said of the Cowboys competition on August 5. in Canton, Ohio.
Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones clarified that players “in the pipeline” – those who have decided to get the shot more recently or those who have said they will but have yet to receive a shot. – not all will be vaccinated during the opening competition of the preseason. Negotiating a team threshold around 85% is “still a work in progress,” said Stephen Jones, but “I think we will hit that threshold and more.”
As per NFL policy, all Cowboys staff and media who will interact with players were required to be vaccinated to be admitted to Oxnard training camp. Members of the media were required to verify their vaccine – both online and by showing a hard copy of a valid vaccine card – in addition to showing proof of a negative COVID-19 test. Monitoring devices are required on the premises.
Player vaccination is not required, but unvaccinated players are subject to daily testing, masking, isolation, and additional restrictions on in-person activities, including meetings and practices. This was factored into McCarthy’s decision – who admitted he “wasn’t the first to jump” – to get the shot.
“At the end of the day, professionally, we are here to win championships,” said McCarthy, who added that he has consulted with medical professionals. “It is part of the responsibility and it is an educated one, it is an individual choice.”
The 1990s Super Bowl Cowboys Hall of Famers publicly promoted the vaccine. Running back Emmitt Smith recently teamed up with First Lady Jill Biden to promote vaccines in Dallas, while wide receiver Michael Irvin said a player who turned down the vaccine was not doing all he could in the game. pursuit of a Super Bowl.
Jerry Jones said Irvin’s post was “exceptional”.
“Michael Irvin is the best example I know of the importance of willpower, body language and the importance of heart and sacrifice in winning championships,” Jones said. “He comes with all the credibility in the world.
“So when he talks, I listen.”
Follow USA TODAY Sports’ Jori Epstein on Twitter @JoriEpstein.