BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Four Bills players were sent home Tuesday and will be away from the team for five days because they were determined to be close contacts to a team staffer who tested positive for Covid-19, general manager Brandon Beane confirmed during a news conference.
The list includes receivers Cole Beasley and Gabriel Davis and defensive tackle Star Lotulelei and Vernon Butler. Additionally, Beane said linebackers Matt Milano and linebacker A.J. Klein were sent home as a precaution, but they will be able to return Wednesday. Beane said none of the players tested positive Tuesday.
Following guidance from the CDC, the NFL rules state unvaccinated players are required to quarantine after coming in close contact with someone who tests positive. Vaccinated players are not.
Beasley has been widely criticized for his refusal to get vaccinated, which was often accompanied by misinformation. ProFootballTalk called him “the unofficial leader of the NFL’s anti-vaxx movement” earlier this summer. Lotulelei opted out of last season due to the dangers of Covid-19 but appears to be unvaccinated.
Beasley read a prepared statement at the beginning of training camp to address his position on vaccination but would not take questions. He claimed the league was withholding information from players.
The five-day quarantine period ensures the players will miss the final preseason game Saturday against the Packers. The Bills withheld numerous starters in the first two preseason games, but starters could have seen more action in the finale.
Bills GM Brandon Beane said at the start of camp that about 80 percent of players had received at least the first dose of the vaccine. That percentage is likely to decrease after final cuts are made.
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Nick Veronica is a Buffalo native who joined the News 4 team as a Digital Executive Producer in 2021. He previously worked at NBC Sports and The Buffalo News. You can follow Nick on Facebook and Twitter and find more of his work here