The Tennessee Titans endured a COVID-19 outbreak last season that affected more than 20 players and coaches and caused a few wrinkles in the regular season schedule as well.
That was before three COVID-19 vaccines became available to the general public.
Now the Titans are about 98 percent vaccinated, according to General Manager Jon Robinson. And as they deal with their second virus outbreak, Robinson and head coach Mike Vrabel, who tested positive for COVID on Sunday, say the vaccine has made a major difference in how things are handled this time around.
“The vaccine maybe made the symptoms, in my specific case, less,” Vrabel acknowledged on Thursday. “I think that is also the case from what I have heard from our other players. It is important because there is no fail safe. We have proven that.
“All we can try to do is maximize our ability to stay safe, to function as a team, to keep our families safe, to do our jobs and do them well. I am proud of where we are at as a team in vaccination rate, but hopefully we can continue to do that and allow our communities and everyone to enjoy the games and enjoy life.”
Special teams coach Craig Auckerman, who has been absent from the last two practices, is also in the COVID protocol along with Vrabel. Both are vaccinated.
Seven players including quarterback Ryan Tannehill, linebacker Harold Landry and tight end Geoff Swaim, among others were added to the reserve/COVID-19 list. Tannehill said at the end of July he had begun the process of getting vaccinated. It’s not known if he was fully vaccinated before Thursday.
“We’ve had two people that I know personally that have lost loved ones over the last couple of days to COVID from symptoms and complications,” Robinson said. “And it’s a lifesaving vaccine.
“…I think everybody’s doing everything they can to try to help it. And the biggest thing is the vaccination, because it does save lives.”
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported on Thursday that all nine of the Titans coaches and players on the reserve/COVID-19 list tested positive while The Tennessean is disputing that report.
Vrabel said after his positive test, he had a monoclonal antibody infusion and has felt great since. Robinson noted on Thursday that the players he has spoken to that have tested positive and are vaccinated said their symptoms didn’t last longer than 24 to 48 hours.
“If you do contract it and you’re vaccinated, it looks like the science has shown that you’re sick for a day or two and then you’re going to get through that,” Robinson said. “So, there’s comfort in going out to dinner and trying to get back to some degree of normalcy, which we all want to do. And I know that the vaccine helps.”
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