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Urban Meyer’s comments about players’ vaccination status are causing a stir

Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer, center, watches play against the Dallas Cowboys.
Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer, center, watches play against the Dallas Cowboys in the first half of a preseason NFL football game in Arlington, Texas, Sunday, Aug. 29, 2021.
Michael Ainsworth, Associated Press

First-year Jacksonville Jaguars coach Urban Meyer created a stir Tuesday.

The former college coach who spent two years at Utah came under scrutiny for his comments on whether players’ COVID-19 vaccination status was a factor during the team’s decision-making process during final roster cuts.

NFL teams had to trim their active rosters to 53 players by Tuesday afternoon.

When asked about the process of deciding players for the 53-man roster, the coach said a player’s performance was a factor, as was his vaccination status.

‘’Everyone was considered,” Meyer said, as first reported by the Florida Times-Union’s John Reid. “That was part of the production and also (if) was he vaccinated or not. To say that was a decision-maker, it certainly was under consideration.’’

Pro Football Talk later reported that the NFL Players Association responded to Meyer’s statement by saying, “These comments have led us to open an investigation.”

On Wednesday morning, the Jaguars organization responded with a statement:

After the Jaguars released their statement, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Jacksonville is among the top five NFL teams with the most unvaccinated players on its roster.

ESPN’s Michael DiRocco outlined the different processes the NFL has in place for testing vaccinated and unvaccinated players.

Among them, per DiRocco, are that vaccinated players are tested weekly and any who test positive must be out for 10 days, though they can return sooner if they receive two negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests at least 24 hours apart.

Unvaccinated players, meanwhile, are tested daily and, if they test positive, they are required to miss 10 days, with a three-day return-to-play protocol, DiRocco said.

“The difference in protocols for vaccinated and unvaccinated players is significant,” DiRocco wrote. “An unvaccinated player who tests positive or is classified as a high-risk close contact would miss significantly more time than a vaccinated player.”