The NFL’s new COVID protocols have led many players to get vaccinated in recent weeks. That includes Titans starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill.
Tannehill revealed at Titans training camp that he is in the process of being vaccinated. As he explained to TitansInsider.com, the NFL’s new protocols played a big role in his decision.
“The NFL has kind of made it clear what they want to happen,” Tannehill said. “If you don’t fall in line, they’re going to try to make your life miserable with the protocols.”
In recent weeks, the NFL has outlined changes to its COVID protocols. Chief among them is that teams with a COVID outbreak among unvaccinated players may be forced to forfeit games if they can’t be rescheduled. That, along with stricter off-field rules for unvaccinated players, helped convince Tannehill to get the vaccine.
“I wouldn’t have gotten the vaccine, if not for the protocols they’re enforcing on us. I think it’s a personal decision for everyone that everyone has to make the best decision for them and their families,” Tannehill said. “That’s kind of our mindset in this building. But they kind of force your hand and they ultimately have forced a lot of hands in this building by the protocols, which everyone has their own opinions on. It is what it is.”
Tannehill’s No. 1 concern was being on the field for his team. He feels that getting the vaccine gives him the best chance to do that.
“I love this game, and I love this team,” Tannehill said. “I want to be able to compete and do the things I think are important to build chemistry and win football games. Ultimately that forced my hand into getting the vaccine.”
Tennessee had the first big COVID outbreak in the NFL last season. At one point, the team had as many as 24 confirmed infections and saw its Week 4 game against the Steelers postponed by a week. It was the NFL’s first postponement of the 2020 NFL season.
The NFL is looking to avoid postponements at all costs in 2021, which is part of the reason it has changed its COVID protocols.
Tannehill played in all 16 regular-season games for the Titans last season. It was his first time doing so since 2015. He’ll look to do the same in 2021 while avoiding any potential COVID-related issues.