Reports: Cole Popovich’s departure from Patriots related to COVID-19 vaccine
News came earlier Friday that Cole Popovich no longer is on the Patriots’ coaching staff. Multiple reports since have confirmed the reason is related to the COVID-19 vaccine.
Mike Giardi of NFL Media noted that Popovich was “masked up during the spring sessions.”
All Tier-1 employees, which includes coaches, are required by the NFL to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to work with players in person during practice. The Vikings said they are in discussion with offensive line coach Rick Dennison over the COVID-19 protocols for training camp after ESPN reported the Vikings had fired Dennison over his refusal to be vaccinated.
Popovich, 36, joined the Patriots in 2015 as a coaching assistant. He and Carmen Bricillo shared offensive line coaching duties last season, but Bricillo will handle the job alone this season.