How the NFL’s COVID-19 rules are different for vaccinated and unvaccinated players

The fallout from Aaron Rodgers' positive COVID-19 test highlights the NFL's policy of different rules for vaccinated and unvaccinated players.

The news that Aaron Rodgers on Wednesday had already been ruled out of Sunday’s Packers-Chiefs game after testing positive for COVID-19 again illustrated the NFL’s policy and separate rules for players who are vaccinated and those who are not.

Rodgers falls in the latter category, even though he told reporters before the season he had been “immunized.” ESPN revealed that Rodgers had petitioned the league to count an alternative treatment he received as a form of vaccination. The league ultimately rejected that request and counts him as unvaccinated for this season.

So what is the difference in the NFL’s COVID-19 policies for players who are vaccinated compared to those who are not?

NFL policy for unvaccinated players

  • Minimum 10-day quarantine after a positive COVID-19 test.
  • Unvaccinated players are subject to daily testing. If one is missed, the player cannot re-enter the team until he undergoes a five-day testing period. Similarly, unvaccinated players cannot join a new team without five consecutive days of negative tests.
  • Masks are mandated indoors and outdoors if in close proximity to others, other than during practice.
  • Physical distancing mandated while in team facilities. Unvaccinated players are not allowed to attend social gatherings in groups of three or more players.
  • Violators of these rules are subject to fines beginning at $14,650.
  • Teams who have to cancel games due to a COVID-19 outbreak among unvaccinated players will forfeit that game. Players for both teams will not be paid.

NFL policy for vaccinated players

  • Upon a positive COVID-19 test, a player can return if: 1) He has two negative PCR tests taken at least 24 hours apart, and 2) He is asymptomatic for 48 hours.
  • Vaccinated players are subject to weekly COVID-19 testing, and must have one negative test result prior to entering a team facility.

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  • Not required to isolate if he comes in close contact with someone who is high risk.
  • No mask mandate, either indoors or outdoors.
  • No restrictions on distancing in team facilities or social gatherings outside of team facilities.

Adam Beasley is the NFL Director for Pro Football Network. You can read all of Adam’s work here and give him a follow on Twitter @AdamHBeasley.

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