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No chance NFL will make vaccines mandatory after FDA approval

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Chris Simms takes a deep dive into Preseason Week 2 action from Trey Lance, Zach Wilson, Patrick Mahomes and more.

For plenty of employers, the arrival of FDA approval for the Pfizer vaccine has opened the door to mandatory vaccination requirements. Not for the NFL.

A source with knowledge of the dynamics between the league and the NFL Players Association was asked whether FDA approval would do anything to spark a late pivot to mandatory vaccinations.

“No at all,” the source said.

So that’s that. The league and the union already have agreed that vaccines will not be required for players. Any player who gets vaccinated will do voluntary. Some will realize, if they haven’t already, the benefits of being vaccinated. Others will hold firm. Some of them may get cut within the next week.

With most players vaccinated (especially at the bottom of rosters), it’s likely that the coming reduction from 80 to 53 per team will cause vaccination rates to decrease. Most of the vaccinated players know that their choice won’t affect their roster status -- even though it obviously could affect their availability for any an every given game.