The Washington Football Team began training camp Wednesday as they prepare for Year 2 under head coach Ron Rivera. They, like every team in the NFL, will continue to face the challenges of playing a season amid a global pandemic.
However, this season there is a readily available coronavirus vaccine and the NFL's policies incentivize players to get vaccinated. While Rivera expressed his frustration with his players' low vaccination rates on Tuesday, Chase Young said in an interview on Wednesday with NBC Sports Washington that he wasn't pushing any of his teammates to get the shot and didn't answer if he had gotten it himself.
"I feel like it's a personal choice," Young told NBC Sports Washington's JP Finlay. "I don't down a guy if he gets it or if he doesn't get it. I feel like it's just a personal choice, like every other vaccine."
Young did not clarify whether or not he's gotten the vaccine, while his team has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the league at just below 60%. Part of the reason for Rivera's frustration stems from being immunodeficient after battling cancer throughout last season.
Still, Young doesn't think the coaching staff or the team's leaders will hold a grudge against unvaccinated players.
"I tell all the guys, I say, 'If you get it, you get it. If you don't, you don't, you know, Coach Rivera is not going to be mad at you. Any of the captains, we're not going to be mad. So if you get it, you get it. If you don't, you don't,'" Young said.
The NFL's new policy could make things difficult for teams with low vaccination rates this season. If a team experiences a COVID outbreak among unvaccinated players that results in a game getting canceled, they could be forced to forfeit and take a loss.
This change hasn't been received all that well from certain players, but as Young notes, it's another item teams will have to work on during the year.
"It's wild what's going on," Young said. "You can't complain, it is what it is. You just got to take it for what it is and keep it moving."