The Titans aren't the only AFC South team confronted with COVID-19 issues ahead of the 2021 season. Amid an outbreak in Tennessee that's forced a growing number of players and staff, including quarterback Ryan Tannehill, on the COVID reserve list and away from team facilities, the Colts have placed two of their own prominent players on the COVID reserve list: starting linemen Quenton Nelson and Eric Fisher.
Fisher was added this offseason to serve as new quarterback Carson Wentz's blind-side protector. Nelson, meanwhile, is in the middle of a return from ankle surgery as the Colts' most accomplished man up front.
It's unclear if Nelson and/or Fisher tested positive for COVID-19 or were deemed high-risk close contacts to an infection. But it may matter whether or not they are vaccinated for COVID. As ProFootballTalk notes, vaccinated players are not required to isolate after a close contact with a positive test, whereas unvaccinated players are mandated to stay away from the team for at least five days. Vaccinated players who test positive themselves, meanwhile, are able to return after consecutive negative tests 24 hours apart.
The NFL, meanwhile, is scrambling to control increased COVID cases as the 2021 season draws near. ESPN's Chris Mortensen reports the league has proposed vaccine mandates to the NFL Players Association "for a while" and would prefer to impose a mandate immediately, but the idea "doesn't seem to have momentum with (the) NFLPA." According to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero, the league has also proposed testing fully vaccinated players and staff once a week rather than once every two weeks, while the NFLPA has recently advocated for daily testing of all individuals.
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