Colts GM Ballard: There are consequences for unvaccinated players
Indianapolis Colts general manager Chris Ballard spoke to the media on Wednesday afternoon in the wake of three of his players being put on the COVID list.
Indianapolis Colts general manager Chris Ballard did not shy away about his stance on the COVID-19 vaccination, and his belief that his players should get the vaccine to avoid potential personal and professional problems in the future.
Three Colts players are currently on the reserve/COVID list after coming in close contact with a member of the Indy staff who tested positive. Quarterback Carson Wentz, center Ryan Kelly, and receiver Zach Pascal are in the process of sitting out the mandatory five days required by the leagues Covid protocols.
The protocols are meant to keep players safe and the league running smoothly. Unvaccinated players are the most affected by this newly implemented set of rules, as they are subjected to more tests, heavier restrictions and of course a five day exile from team activities after coming in contact with someone with a positive test.
Ballard: Do I think everyone should be vaccinated? Absolutely
Ballard held his annual press conference on Wednesday as the Colts prepare for their Week 1 opener next Sunday.
"There's consequences to not being vaccinated," Ballard said. "Do I think everybody should be vaccinated? Absolutely. I'm for the vaccine. (Coach) Frank (Reich) is for the vaccine. We have a lot of guys on our team who are for the vaccine. Is it 100% perfect? No. But it's a good thing.”
The Colts maybe more at risk than most teams, as they are on the bottom of the list when it comes to teams with the most vaccinated players. Ballard didn’t go into detail or give numbers when asked in his press conference, but did say his players will not be pressured into getting the vaccine, but rather educated.
Ten players already put of Covid protocol list for Indy
"Look, I can beat my head against the wall," Ballard said. "I can go in there and raise all kinds of hell and go off. That's not how we roll. I believe in our guys. I believe in what they stand for and I'll stand by them. We'll continue to work on the vaccinations. It's not like we're done educating ... But they understand they have to take care of the protocols at hand and they have to live by them. And we'll do that at the best of the ability we can do it."
Indianapolis has now had ten different players or coaches put on the COVID protocol list with the recent news of Wents, Kelly and Pascal. Guard Quenton Nelson was just taken off the list Monday after coming in contact with someone who tested positive last week.
Not many preseason snaps for Wentz
Wentz is tabbed to be the Colts’ first string quarterback after an offseason move from Philadelphia to Indianapolis, but the former Eagle has had limited practice time because of foot surgery on his left foot in early August.
"He's worked his butt off, been a good teammate," Ballard said of his new quarterback. "When the foot thing happened. I could see the frustration, but also saw another look. 'I'm playing. Let's get (the bone out) and let's go to work.' That's a good thing."