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Steelers Support Loosened Restrictions for Vaccinated Players



Dwayne Haskins

PITTSBURGH — The NFL and NFLPA jointly announced new COVID-19 mitigation procedures for vaccinated players and staff for this summer’s training camps and the 2021 season, and unexpectedly, the Pittsburgh Steelers players seem to be on board with the idea of there being separate rules for those vaccinated and those unvaccinated.

Rayne The Steelers are or are among the most-vaccinated teams in the league, head coach Mike Tomlin said this week, and part of the reason the players have been so on board is to get the benefit of not having to wear masks or social distance in team settings.

“I wasn’t per se, the biggest fan of the vaccine at first,” quarterback Dwayne Haskins said on Thursday. “But of course, I’ve gotten it and I’ve been able to just be around teammates the way we want to be around each other and be in meetings without having to necessarily be social distancing, and stuff like that. So my biggest thing is doing what’s best for each other, what’s best for the team and what’s best for my opportunities here.”

The Steelers are not fully vaccinated, as some players just got their first shots this week at minicamp, and some can still be seen wearing masks before practice. Wide receiver Diontae Johnson said that choice is important, too, even if it would be more convenient if everyone was vaccinated.

“It would benefit the team a lot and save a lot of commotion,” Johnson said. “That would help out if everybody got vaccinated. But like I said, Everybody’s got their own choice, if they want to or not. So I can only control what I can control. It’ll help if everybody wants to get vaccinated, to save a lot of commotion.”

Things between the union and the league have been contentious lately, but Johnson said he supports the league’d decision to encourage vaccination by having separate rules.

“I have no problem with it,” Johnson said. “Because they’re just trying to keep people safe at the end of the day. … I’m comfortable with everything. I don’t have any problems with it”