Coronavirus concerns have inevitably reached Bears training camp. The team put four players on the NFL’s reserve/COVID-19 list Tuesday: nose tackle Eddie Goldman, tackle Elijah Wilkinson, linebacker Christian Jones and long snapper Patrick Scales. None attended practice at Soldier Field.
Players land on the list if they’ve tested positive for the virus or have been ruled a close contact of someone who has.
Wilkinson is not vaccinated. It’s unclear which, if any, of the other three players are vaccinated. Vaccinated players who contract the virus can return after two negative tests at least 24 hours apart, but unvaccinated players must isolate for 10 days. Unvaccinated players who are high-risk close contacts of an infected person must isolate for five days, even if they have tested negative. Vaccinated players don’t have to isolate at all.
Goldman opted out of the 2020 season because of coronavirus concerns and skipped mandatory minicamp this June before reporting to camp last week.
Bears coach Matt Nagy didn’t address the absences before practice Tuesday. He said last week the Bears had “a couple” of players who began their vaccine regimens when they reported for camp.
Quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo missed the start of camp while on the reserve/COVID-19 list but returned Monday.
General manager Ryan Pace said last week the Bears were near the 85% vaccination mark and climbing. The NFL said Tuesday that 90% of all players have had at least one shot. Nine teams are above 95%; all but five are above 85%.
Still, coaches across the league have voiced their frustration with their teams’ vaccination rates. After the Vikings put three quarterbacks on the reserve list last week, coach Mike Zimmer said “we could put this thing to bed if we all” get vaccinated. Washington coach Ron Rivera said last week he wanted his players to consider his weakened immune system — he had cancer last year — and decide to get the vaccine. On Sunday, many of them did.