ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WIVB) – Things look a lot different at One Bills Drive than a year ago at this time.
First of all, the team can actually be together in person unlike last year during the spring when everything was virtual until training camp because of Covid-19.
“I don’t know the amount of normal versus protocols I’d say we’re 60 percent normal, 65-70 percent normal. And I think that’s good. It’s nice when you’re fully vaccinated to be able to do some of those things and so that’s been good,” Bills head coach Sean McDermott said as OTAs started this week.
McDermott mentioned he is fully vaccinated along with general manager Brandon Beane and owners Terry and Kim Pegula.
“It’s important to us and I think it’s for the greater good of not only our team but the community as well so that’s the direction and the choice that I personally made,” McDermott said.
“I applaude everyone in our building that’s been able to do that and improve our situation here.”
But not everyone is comfortable getting the vaccine, some of those being players.
“That’s being real about it, there’s a lot of debate about it out there. I just know what I did, I know why I chose the route that I chose and that’s what I know the most about and so that’s the decision I made,” McDermott explained.
Some players have expressed their feelings about the vaccine on social media and other platforms including quarterback Josh Allen. In April, Allen said he was still undecided about getting the vaccine on The Ringer’s podcast with Kyle Brandt.
While McDermott said it’s unhealthy to discuss whether or not players or vaccinated or not, he did say he has addressed the topic as a whole with the team.
“I’ll keep those conversations that I had with the team respectfully to inside the building for now but I think it’s gotta start with respect. You always want to respect people’s positions on things. Again, for myself I felt like it was the right thing to do for multiple reasons and that’s the decision and direction I went,” McDermott said.
It seems the NFL is even considering relaxing Covid restrictions for teams that meet a certain vaccine threshold. According to Peter King, the NFL is looking at this as a possibility for teams that have 85% of its players fully vaccinated, something the Bills might not be able to meet when the season starts.
“I’m concerned about it, being very up front. I’m concerned about that as well as a lot of other things right now for our football team,” McDermott said.
McDermott also brought up the amount of time it takes for a person to become fully vaccinated, especially if they are doing the two shot vaccine which has three weeks in between the first and second shot and then it takes another two weeks after the second shot to become fully vaccinated.
“I don’t think the right word is to try and convince, I don’t think that’s the right word. I think the right word is to educate and build awareness and then let people decide,” McDermott explained.