Terry McLaurin, like all Washington Football Team players, has spoken about the COVID-19 vaccine.
He respects his teammates' right to choose whether to get vaccinated or not, but he opted for it because he thought it was what's best for himself and his team. Though with seven players currently on the COVID reserve list, it's now become not only an issue of health - but one that could affect the team's on-the-field performance.
So, NBC Sports Washington's JP Finlay asked: Has it become an annoyance yet?
"I don't think it has yet because it hasn't, I mean, it's affected us, but it hasn't cost us games yet," McLaurin said in an exclusive interview on Monday. "I guess the plus side is we're getting some of it out [of] the way now, but at the same time, we also got to understand that this can affect us during the season and this can affect our ability to compete and be a full-strength team, which we need everybody to be a part of that. So we do got to keep that in the front of our minds and be conscious of that, and guys just have to take that ownership."
Washington had one of the lower vaccination rates in the league entering training camp and could find itself in a position to forfeit games, per NFL rules, if an outbreak among unvaccinated players causes a matchup to get canceled. Head coach Ron Rivera has already expressed his frustration with his team's low vaccination rates, though players continue to express their personal choice on whether or not to get the vaccine.
Last season, Washington was one of the few teams without a COVID-19 outbreak. It won the NFC East and is likely in a good place to build upon that this season. But staying healthy will be a big part of that.
"I think what we did last year was great, but we have so many other goals that we want to build upon and we can't let this COVID thing get in the way," McLaurin said. "It's affecting everybody, but with the protocols in place and the vaccines that are out there, we hope that guys that continue to educate themselves and do what's best for not only them but think of everybody as well."
For McLaurin, if you aren't vaccinated, no problem, as long as it doesn't prevent the team from winning on Sundays.
"If you don't decide to get the vaccine, then you've got to make sure you're doing whatever you can to protect yourself and to protect all of us, because we're all in this together," McLaurin said. "This could really affect the season that we have ahead."