NFL

Four Bills enter Covid contact protocol, will miss five days

The NFL's Covid-19 policy states that all unvaccinated players who come in close contact with someone positive must sit out a mandatory five days.

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Four Bills enter Covid contact protocol, will miss five days
JONATHAN DANIEL AFP

The Buffalo Bills will be without wide receivers Cole Beasley and Gabriel Davis for the next five days after coming in close contact with a team trainer who tested positive for COVID-19. Defensive tackles Star Lotulelei and Vernon Butler will also miss five days after coming in contact with the same trainer.

Four Bills in contact with Covid-positive trainer

While tests came back negative for all four players on Tuesday, they will still have to miss practice as mandated in the NFL’s COVID-19 policy.

Two other players, linebackers Matt Milano and A.J. Klien were sent home from Tuesday’s practice, but will not have to sit out any more days after league interviews deemed they were not in close contact with the trainer, who has been fully vaccinated.

Bills GM: This is our new normal

Brandon Beane, general manager of the Bills, said he was surprised to see Butler sent home from Tuesday’s practice after the NFL deemed that the tackle was indeed in close contact with the trainer that tested positive. “This is our new normal. It's not the normal we like. But it's the world we're in," Beane said. "We're not exempt from any of this, as we've said many of times. We're going to try to keep our building as safe as we can. Everyone understands the protocols and the rules."

The NFL Covid protocol came out in June of this year, and puts unvaccinated players under tight restrictions. Beasley was one of the many players who took to Twitter criticizing the stance taken by the NFL, and claimed he wasn’t vaccinated and would continue to “live my one life like I want.”

Unvaccniated players subject to stricter restrictions

While vaccinated players have almost returned to their pre-Covid routine, those who are choosing not to get the shot are subject to much more frequent testing, mandatory masks and social distancing in the team facility and during road trips. There is also the five day period, which the four Bills players are experiencing now, that must be obliged when an unvaccinated player comes in contact with someone who has tested positive.

Beasly’s biggest criticism was the amount that those who choose not to get the vaccine are tested saying, "It's common sense that if a vaxxed or unvaxxed player is tested less frequently, the likelihood of a player being pulled for COVID drops dramatically,"

Beasly one of most outspoken on vaccine

Beasly is coming off of a career year in 2020, which saw him catch 82 passes and rack up 967 yards. Davis had an impressive rookie campaign, scoring 7 touchdowns for the Bills. Lotulelei decided not to play last year amid the Covid concerns.

This isn’t the first time the Bills have had to deal with Covid issues this season. Dion Dawkins missed the first two weeks of training camp, and was forced to stay in the hospital for four days after testing positive.

"We felt really bad for Dion. It's a tough situation," Beane said. "Normally, with our medical team, we can put our hands on him, but in that situation, we couldn't.