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Maskless Matt Nagy: It’s ‘different when you see people’s expressions’

Bears coach Matt Nagy pulled into the Halas Hall parking lot Wednesday and left his mask in the car. NFL rules state vaccinated coaches and players don’t have to wear them — and Nagy recently became fully vaccinated for the coronavirus.

The Bears’ Matt Nagy coached without a mask Wednesday.
AP Photos

Coach Matt Nagy pulled into the Halas Hall parking lot Wednesday and left his mask in the car. NFL rules state vaccinated coaches and players don’t have to wear masks — and Nagy recently became fully vaccinated for the coronavirus.

“It’s just different when you see people’s expressions [when] you talk to them out on the field, in meetings,” Nagy said. “At the same point in time, there are the safety measures. And if you’re not vaccinated, then you need to wear your mask.

“So for us, we would love for everybody to get their vaccinations. And we encourage that and educate them on it.”

Trainer Andre Tucker has encouraged players to ask questions if they’re not sure about the vaccine.

“We all have our own opinions on what we want to do and not do,” Nagy said. “But if you understand the education of it, if we encourage it — which is what we’re doing — then we can all make our own decisions and decide to get it.”

The NFL has made vaccinations mandatory for coaches unless they have a legitimate reason for an exemption. Those who refuse to get one will lose Tier 1 status — and the ability to share a field or meeting room with players — by training camp. Nagy expects all his coaches to be fully vaccinated by camp.

Shots aren’t mandatory for players, who have union protection. Teams with a vast majority of vaccinated players will have fewer restrictions when camp begins.

Around the league, though, player participation has been mixed. A quick poll of Bears revealed little uniformity.

Running back Damien Williams — who sat out last year because of coronavirus concerns, given that his mom has cancer — and wide receiver Darnell Mooney said they’ll probably, eventually, get vaccinated. Tight end Cole Kmet kept his decision private, and center Sam Mustipher said he’ll get his second shot next week.

“If getting the vaccine means being out there no matter what, I’m going to do it,” Mustipher said.

Attendance check

Wide receiver Anthony Miller attended the voluntary organized-team-activity practice but did not participate because of what Nagy termed a “nick,” or small injury.

Quarterback Nick Foles remains out because of a personal issue, but Nagy said “hopefully he’ll be back next week.” Wide receiver Allen Robinson wasn’t spotted at practice, neither was tight end Jimmy Graham nor wide receiver Marquise Goodwin.

Most of the Bears’ starting defense — linemen Akiem Hicks, Eddie Goldman, Mario Edwards and Bilal Nichols, outside linebackers Khalil Mack and Robert Quinn, inside linebacker Danny Trevathan, cornerback Jaylon Johnson and safeties Tashaun Gipson and Eddie Jackson did not attend, in accordance with the NFLPA’s recommendation that voluntary OTAs become exactly that. Players absent from practice are still participating in team meetings.