According to the NFL Network, 13 teams have met the player COVID-19 vaccination threshold rate and will be able to enjoy loosened restrictions in training camp.
The Dallas Cowboys are not one of those teams and they not expected to crossed the 85 percent threshold for player vaccinations before they report to training camp on Tuesday, per a source.
It has Hall of Fame receiver Michael Irvin questioning their championship desire
Not only is Irvin disappointed in the Cowboys but he is visibly upset and wonders aloud if this team has what it takes to ultimately return the franchise to the Super Bowl for the first time since 1995.
“Yeah, and it should upset them,” said Irvin, who won three Super Bowls with the Cowboys in 1992, 1993 and 1995. “It should upset them. Dude, you’re not thinking right. I don’t give a damn. Nothing else can be more important. You’re not going to get this [winning a Super Bowl] easily. And not being one of the [vaccinated teams] says there’s other things to a great number of people on this team that are more important than winning championships and that makes me worried.”
The NFL and NFLPA agreed in June to COVID-19 protocols for training camp and the preseason, and fully vaccinated players are given more freedom than their non-vaccinated teammates.
Fully vaccinated players don’t have to wear a mask at the team facility with other vaccinated players and no longer are required to undergo daily testing for the coronavirus. Fully vaccinated players can travel on the team charter to away games, work out in the weight room and participate in marketing events among other things.
Players not fully vaccinated will have a daily COVID-19 test, wear a mask at the team facility, must continue social distancing from teammates who are vaccinated and can’t leave the team hotel when on the road, not even to eat in a restaurant.
According to the NFL Network, the teams getting to the target percentage nearly doubled last week, going from seven to 13. In addition, 73.8 percent of players have had at least one shot.
And that speaks volumes to Irvin, who was billed as the heart and soul of the Cowboys’ title teams in the 1990s because of his fiery leadership and intensity.
“Call me stupid because I try to take any little thing and turn it if you are a championship team,” Irvin said. “Any little thing because a championship team it’s not something that you can walk by. It’s not candy that you pick up out of the bowl. It’s something that has to be grafted. Every decision has to be made like you’re winning championships.
“If you’re not one of the [vaccinated] teams are you really thinking about winning a championship?”
It’s not just the mindset but the potential competitive implications for players who test positive for COVID-19 or have a close contact with a positive person that also bother Irvin.
A fully vaccinated individual who has been exposed to a coronavirus-positive person will not be labeled a high-risk close contact, so they will not be subject to a mandatory five-day isolation.
A positive test would result in a player missing a game or games, which could potentially impact a team’s success.
Irvin ultimately questions the player leadership in the locker room. He said he would fight a teammate over it and that somebody needs to say something.
“If I’m on a team in this situation I’m going to make sure to ask, ‘you get vaccinated? You get vaccinated?’,” Irvin said. “Somebody in that damn locker room needs to say, ‘Hey man we’re going to have a chance, are you vaccinated? Let’s go through this because this could be two weeks, a healthy dude missing games. In this league that could be it for you. The right person misses two weeks, that’s it. You’re [butt] is out. I’ll fight a (expletive).”