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Sean McDermott frustrated by Bills’ low vaccination rate

Peter King reviews what the Buffalo Bills and Josh Allen are working on going into the 2021-22 season and notes the emphasis on playing well into the last minutes of games.

Bills receivers Isaiah McKenzie and Cole Beasley were fined $14,650 each for violating the league’s mask policy for unvaccinated players. Beasley’s violation was caught on video Tuesday, while McKenzie was seen in person twice without a mask when NFL officials were at the team facility giving a presentation on COVID-19 rules. McKenzie previously received a warning.

Bills coach Sean McDermott is frustrated by his team’s low vaccination rate and is out of ideas on how to convince his unvaccinated players to get vaccinated.

“It’s tough. It’s frustrating. It’s challenging, however you want to say it,” McDermott said Thursday, via John Wawrow of the Associated Press. “But I can’t make the decision for them.”

The Bills placed four unvaccinated players, including Beasley, into five-day self-isolation on Tuesday after the players came in close contact with a vaccinated trainer who tested positive for COVID-19. Receiver Gabriel Davis and defensive tackles Star Lotulelei and Vernon Butler were the other unvaccinated players who must continue to quarantine this week.

Vaccinated players who are high-risk close contacts do not have to isolate.

McDermott acknowledged his team could face a competitive disadvantage because of its low vaccination rate. The Bills have around 80 percent of their players vaccinated, according to Wawrow.

“There’s people’s livelihoods at stake in terms of people’s jobs,” McDermott said. “Being able to count on people is important, so when you’re going through a week — if this were a real week — and having the players out that we’ve had, that makes it harder to win games that way.”