Curran: Dolphins facing COVID challenges ahead of Week 1

/ by Tom E. Curran
Presented By DraftKings

Unvaccinated Miami Dolphins tight end Adam Shaheen got sideways with COVID protocols a month ago. At that time, he said he’d comply with protocols but that the NFL was “not going to strongarm” him into getting vaccinated

Shaheen can now get down with his non-strongarmed self on his South Florida couch for the next few days since he’s one of two Dolphins placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Monday

Joining Shaheen on COVID reserve is Dolphins left tackle Austin Jackson. How long they’ll be gone depends on whether they are vaccinated -- and an educated guess would be that Shaheen isn’t -- and whether they tested positive or were merely a “high-risk close contact” of a positive case.

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To reiterate, vaccinated players aren’t required to isolate if they have a high-risk close contact. If a vaccinated player tests positive, he can return to the team after two negative PCR tests that are at least 24 hours apart and all symptoms are cleared.

Unvaccinated players must quarantine away from the team for five days after a high-risk close contact. They must quarantine from the team for at least 10 days if they test positive. 


So the Dolphins starting left tackle may be back by the end of the week if he’s vaccinated and tested positive. If he’s not, he’s gone for the opener at least.

That reality once again shows the availability advantages the NFL baked in for vaccinated individuals. Advantages that are so significant that -- as it relates to being able to show up to work -- it’s barely worth pointing out that breakthrough cases in which symptoms are mild to non-existent have occurred.

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Which is what Bill Belichick did last week when he said during a video conference, “Throughout the league, there have been a number, a quite high number I would say, of players who have had the virus who have been vaccinated. Your implication that vaccination solves every problem, that has not been substantiated based on what’s happened in training camp this year.”

There was no implication on the call that being vaccinated “solves every problem.” And the NFL’s Chief Medical Officer Allen Sills specifically shot down Belichick’s claim that there’s but a “quite high number” of positive tests among vaccinated players.

Belichick circled back Monday morning to revisit his comments, saying nobody was “released or kept because of their vaccination status.”

Belichick went on to say, “As a team, we’re better off if everybody is vaccinated. And that being said, even if everybody was vaccinated, that doesn’t solve all of our problems. As we’ve seen multiple players and head coaches and assistant coaches throughout the league test positive for COVID even after they have been vaccinated.”

Right. But as the Dolphins are finding out, the “problems” as it relates to football are significantly reduced if one is vaccinated.

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