Cole Beasley among four unvaccinated Buffalo Bills players sidelined by NFL's COVID-19 protocols
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. – Wide receivers Cole Beasley and Gabriel Davis, two of the most vocal Buffalo Bills regarding their refusal to get the COVID-19 vaccine, must be away from the team for five days because they were determined to be close contacts of a member of the training staff who tested positive, general manager Brandon Beane confirmed in a news conference Tuesday.
Defensive tackles Star Lotulelei and Vernon Butler will join Beasley and Davis in the COVID-19 protocols after the potential exposure, Beane said.
The New York Daily News reported that Beasley and Davis each tested negative in the latest round of nose swabs. But because neither player is vaccinated, their close contact requires an NFL-mandated five-day re-entry process before they can be welcomed back at the Bills facility.
New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton is currently going through the same process.
Had the players been vaccinated, they would not have been sent home and could have continued to practice and be with their teammates.
This, of course, is one of the biggest concerns the Bills and other NFL teams have heading into the 2021 season. With the delta variant now raging across the country, unvaccinated players are at a much higher risk to contract the virus and could potentially miss weeks, not days.
It also means they are more susceptible to the vagaries of the virus, and not even a negative test matters based on the close contact standard.
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Yet Beasley has been extremely vocal in his stance regarding the vaccine. He says it’s not against the vaccine but simply wants to make his own choice and not be forced into getting it. Davis has not been as loud on the issue, but he has typically agreed, via social media, with Beasley’s comments.
The Bills are already facing a bit of an injury problem at wide receiver as Stefon Diggs has not practiced fully for more than two weeks due to a knee injury, and Emmanuel Sanders has been slowed by a foot issue.
Diggs, Beasley, Davis and Sanders are the top four receivers on the team and are expected to get the bulk of the snaps once the season begins on Sept. 12 against the Pittsburgh Steelers.