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Tre’Quan Smith sees the Saints getting back to normal, thanks to vaccines

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The Saints are one of a handful of NFL teams that already have at least 85 percent of their players vaccinated, and wide receiver Tre’Quan Smith said he’s looking forward to a much more normal season in 2021 than in 2020.

“We just want to get back to the normal way as quickly as possible and as safely as possible,” Smith told the Orlando Sentinel.

Smith acknowledged he was hesitant to get the COVID-19 vaccine but ultimately concluded it was the right thing to do.

“I was looking at all the bad things and not looking at the good things,” Smith said. “My mom’s a diabetic. What if I get her sick? Then I’ve got nieces and nephews that I’m around all the time. What if they get sick? And then I do want to go back to normal, so sooner or later, everybody’s got to get vaccinated — if not everybody, a good amount of people have got to get vaccinated before things go back to normal.”

NFL players who are fully vaccinated will have an easier time this season, as they won’t have to get tested every day, won’t have to wear masks and can congregate with groups of other players. Unvaccinated players will have to follow the same strict guidelines of daily testing, masks and isolation of last year. The NFL is expected to relax the COVID-19 protocols for teams that have at least 85 percent of their players fully vaccinated, so the Saints will be at a competitive advantage over teams with fewer vaccinated players.