Back in the beginning of August, Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians said that he believed his team would be 100% vaccinated against COVID-19 by the time it played its 2021 regular season opener against the Cowboys on Sept. 9.
Now, one week ahead of that game at Raymond James Stadium, the Buccaneers as an organization have reached that mark, Arians told the local media on Thursday:
“We’re 100% vaccinated … all the players, all the coaches, everybody.”
The Bucs join the Atlanta Falcons as the only two teams in the NFL to have reached the 100% vaccination mark. It’s safe to say that the defending champs have done so in large part because of Arians’ leadership. The 68-year-old head coach has been outspoken about his belief in the importance of getting vaccinated, telling his players earlier this summer that getting the vaccine is the easiest way that things can go back to normal.
Not to mention, this is a loaded team that is being picked by some to repeat as Super Bowl champions, so the last thing it needs is a COVID-19 outbreak to derail the season. Of course, precautions will still be needed for the team to remain as safe as possible. While the league rules are lighter for vaccinated individuals, Arians said in August that he has his own set of rules for his players on road trips, with those coming in addition to the league’s protocols.
Leonard Fournette, who previously said he was undecided on receiving the vaccine, told reporters Thursday that it came down to being the best teammate he can be and helping keep the team out of harm’s way this season.
Bucs running back @_fournette explains his reasons for getting the COVID-19 vaccine after initially being against it. He wanted to keep the team out of harm’s way. “You can still catch it, but it makes it a lot better to have the shot. ... We need every hand in here...” pic.twitter.com/UOdFme8blU— JennaLaineESPN (@JennaLaineESPN) September 2, 2021