With many worried that the NFL will attempt to cut the line for COVID-19 vaccines when they become available, NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith has put those concerns to rest.
Speaking with members of the media Tuesday, Smith assured the league will not take valuable doses away from those who desperately need the protection most.
“Nobody should think about a vaccine going anywhere other than our first responders and our most vulnerable people right now,” Smith said in a zoom interview.
Smith also added that “football is not an essential business.”
NFLPA Exec Director DeMaurice Smith: "Nobody should think about a vaccine going anywhere other than our first responders and our most vulnerable people right now… Football is not an essential business."— Ben Fischer (@BenFischerSBJ) December 8, 2020
Multiple vaccines still await approval in the U.S., as the league is coming off the heals of its largest COVID-19 outbreak to date with the Baltimore Ravens.
The league and players’ association announced slightly improved, but still concerning testing data as well Tuesday, with 45 new positive cases of the virus determined last week.
Smith also said that the NFLPA has discussed the idea of bubbles for the upcoming playoffs, but that no decision has been made yet.
NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith says they discussed the idea of “local bubbles” in the playoffs in a recent call with player reps, but no decision yet and it’ll be data-driven.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) December 8, 2020
Background on the idea NFL officials have been discussing: https://t.co/yAg1TO3dbu
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell discussed plans for the playoffs last week, but ruled out an NBA-style, single location bubble for the postseason. Each team would likely have their own individual bubbles, limiting contact with those beyond players and staff even further.
Could Steelers Sign Bud Dupree to 1-Year Contract after ACL Injury?
That player is Bud Dupree, who is a free agent and in search of a new NFL contract. While fans always knew it was possible 2020 was Dupree’s last in Pittsburgh, one of the most tenured NFL reporters thinks there’s actually hope the 27-year-old linebacker could be back as a key contributor to the Steelers defense. During an appearance on Pittsburgh’s 93.7 The Fan, longtime NFL reporter John Clayton said he feels Dupree’s ACL injury may reduce his value on the open market and lead Dupree signing a 1-year deal worth about $6 million.
A $6 million 1-year contract would be team-friendly as the Steelers look to work around salary cap concerns, but significantly less than the type of deal a player of Dupree’s caliber would normally command. Spotract.com has estimated Dupree’s market value to be around $18 million per year on a four-year contract.
Of course, that may sound like good news for Steelers fans. Dupree was playing at a very high level prior to his season-ending injury. But the possibility of signing for just one year, instead of a big long term contract, doesn’t seem to be something Dupree himself is too excited about.
— Big Bud (@Bud_Dupree) January 27, 2021
Dupree joined NFL Network’s Good Morning Football on Wednesday, and shared encouraging news regarding his rehab from the torn ACL that ended his 2020 season.
“I’m feeling great right now,” Dupree said. “I’m ahead of schedule in rehab. It’s a great thing as always, it’s a blessing.”
What the market will actually be for Dupree’s services certainly depends on if other franchises feel he can get back to form and be fully recovered for next season.
Pittsburgh Fan to Serve as Honorary Captain for Super Bowl LV Coin Toss
The NFL is honoring three community leaders as honorary captains for the Super Bowl LV coin toss, including a Pittsburgh Steelers fan.
James Martin, a Marine Corps veteran and community leader, will be recognized on the field for his selfless work in his community over the past year during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Martin has worked virtually with veterans through the Wounded Warriors Project, assisted Aliquippa high school in live-streaming football games for individuals unable to attend and opened his home to children in need, providing them stability and comfort within his own family.
The NFL informed Martin of the honor in a special way, having Pro Football Hall of Famer and former Steeler great Jerome Bettis surprise him with the exciting news via Zoom. Martin’s reaction is as priceless as you would expect.
“We are honored to recognize these three individuals who represent the best in all of us,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement Wednesday. “During this incredibly challenging time in our lives, Trimaine, Suzie, and James have exemplified the essence of leadership, each in their own way. We are grateful for their commitment and proud to share their stories and recognize them during this special moment on Super Bowl Sunday.”
Not only will Martin and his counterparts participate in the coin toss ceremony, they will also be honored by poet Amanda Gorman, the star of President Joe Biden’s inauguration, who will recite an original piece recognizing their efforts.
The league is also honoring educator Trimaine Davis and healthcare worker Suzie Dorner in addition to Martin.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Kansas City Chiefs will face off in Super Bowl LV on Feb. 7 from Raymond James Stadium.
Mic Drop: Rooting for Antonio Brown or Le’Veon Bell Is Easy Choice
The idea that either Antonio Brown or Le’Veon Bell will become a Super Bowl champion after Super Bowl LV isn’t exactly something that makes Steelers fans excited for the big game. With that said, Mike Asti feels deciding who to root for should be an easy choice for Steelers fans. He wants to set the record straight once and for all of why Pittsburgh fans need to stop grouping the two former Steelers together.
While they both left the franchise in a cloud of drama, Le’Veon Bell doesn’t deserve to be treated as if he committed the same kind of sins against the Steelers that Antonio Brown did.