Bruce Arians to Tampa Bay Buccaneers

TAMPA, Fla. — Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians hasn’t felt the need to bring in a specialist to talk to his players about the COVID-19 vaccine, which some players leaguewide have expressed skepticism about in recent days.

While Washington Football Team coach Ron Rivera brought Harvard immunologist Kizzmekia S. Corbett in to speak to his players Tuesday night, Arians said Thursday, “I’m the specialist.”

He told players, “If you want to go back to normal, get vaccinated.”

Arians said the Bucs are holding a vaccine drive for players and their families at the facility.

“There’s gonna be a long line over there right now,” Arians said. “We were pretty short up until now. Hopefully we have a pretty good line.”

Previous vaccine drives have also taken place at the facility for coaches and support staff members. The goal is to have 85% of the team vaccinated, which he feels they’ll be much closer to after the drive.

“Everybody’s tired of meeting out here and eating outside, and doing all those things we had to do last year,” Arians said. “It’s still a personal choice but I don’t see a reason not to be vaccinated.”

When asked if any players expressed concern or skepticism, as Washington’s Montez Sweat did Wednesday, Arians said, “I haven’t spoken to anybody that’s resisted it. They’re just too lazy to get one.”

Outside linebacker Shaq Barrett said he and his wife Jordanna both received the vaccine. Their four children aren’t old enough to receive the vaccine at this time, as the CDC currently recommends children ages 12 and older receive vaccines.

Barrett missed the season finale against the Atlanta Falcons due to being a close contact of a teammate who tested positive, despite never testing positive himself. Still, he was forced to quarantine for five days. His children were home-schooled in 2020 and did not have play-dates with other children because of concerns about the virus.

“It’s ‘to each their own.’ I recommend it,” Barrett said Thursday of the vaccine. “I don’t know why people wouldn’t get it. But whatever makes you comfortable, whatever helps you sleep at night, you do that. But I would like for 85% of the team to be vaccinated.”

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