TAMPA, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are now 100% vaccinated against COVID-19, coach Bruce Arians announced Thursday, making them the second NFL team to reach that threshold.
“We’re 100% vaccinated — our entire organization — all the players, all the coaches, everybody,” said Arians, who has been a huge proponent of vaccinations but ultimately said it was the players’ choice.
“It’s something I wanted to do, trying to put the team [out of] harm’s [way],” said running back Leonard Fournette, who initially refused the vaccine. “People are still catching it, but it makes it a lot better to have the shot. We need every hand in here for these next couple big games we’ve got coming up.”
The Bucs host the Dallas Cowboys in the NFL Kickoff Game next Thursday.
“I just prayed on it,” Fournette said. “So whatever happens, happens. I’m just trying to be the best teammate I can be. Not causing no more than what we can handle now as is. People getting sick each and every day. Just trying to be the bigger person and get it over with.”
The Bucs have three players — offensive linemen Earl Watford and Nick Leverett and defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh — currently on the reserve/COVID-19 list after activating kicker Ryan Succop on Thursday.
Arians said he expects to have all three back in time for next week’s season opener.