Bruce Arians hopes the NFL is looking into other teams, too.
Receiver Antonio Brown was one of two Tampa Bay Buccaneers players suspended this week for misleading the league over their COVID vaccine status. Brown allegedly used a fake vaccine card to skirt league protocols.
Arians, the Tampa Bay head coach, had a message for league officials.
“I just hope that they don’t stop looking,” Arians said.
Asked if there are other teams that have similar situations where players wanted to be considered vaccinated, but did not want the jab, Arians demurred.
“Maybe,” he answered.
What no other team has had – at least not yet – was a personal chef who felt he was owed $10,000 by a client and spoke to the media in retaliation, like the Buccaneers had with Brown.
It would hardly be surprising if Brown and Edwards were not the only NFL players who falsified vaccine information. In the NHL, Sharks forward Evander Kane was accused of doing just that.
Before the 2021 season began, Arians trumpeted his team’s vaccine progress, saying all players, coaches and staff had received their shots – or so he thought.
“In the last two years, I don’t know if there’s been a team better at COVID than we’ve been,” he said. “This is a setback because of what happened. But we have done an amazing job, and even when the guys — we have never had an outbreak in a position room. So I’m very happy with that part.”
Arians is less pleased with the rest of the situation, however.
“It pisses me off,” he said. “But it is what it is.”
If you can get past the block of trying to untangle why someone would not want to be vaccinated in the first place, there are obvious motives to fake it – especially in the NFL.
Unvaccinated players have more frequent testing and more stringent mask rules. They aren’t allowed to use ridesharing or dine out at restaurants and are subject to automatic 10-day quarantines for positive tests whereas vaccinated players can return to play if they are asymptomatic for 48 hours and have two negative tests 24 hours apart.