The number of NFL players in the COVID-19 vaccination process has reached 80%, with nine teams having 90% or more of their players in that category.

Dr. Allen Sills, the league’s medical director, said Friday that nearly all Tier 1 and Tier 2 team employees — those who deal directly with players — have been vaccinated. Five teams are at less than 70% of players who have either received one vaccination shot or both. He is optimistic the number of vaccinated players will continue to rise as training camps open.

“I think we are off to an excellent start,” Sills said. “Those numbers are much higher than what we’re seeing in society as a whole. There has been a lot of movement in that area. As you see players coming to training camp, you will see more players beginning that process (of vaccination).”

Sills cited teams having strong advocates for vaccination among players and coaches, as well as the educational materials available.

“I think that has influenced a lot of players,” he said. “I think we are still seeing a lot of positive momentum. Numbers are changing on a day-by-day basis and I think we’ll be seeing them day by day going up.

“What matters is that individuals have the most accurate information. Let’s not get information from Instagram or Facebook posts. Let’s try to hear from the most reputable professionals. You don’t shout anyone into belief here — there have to be thoughtful conversations. What we can do is provide the facts and make sure the entirety of the medical facts are presented.”

On Thursday, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell sent a memo to the 32 teams warning that forfeited regular-season games could occur for a COVID-19 outbreak caused by nonvaccinated players.

Dawn Aponte, the league’s chief football administrative officer, reiterated that games will not be postponed to avoid roster issues because of the flexibility built in: COVID-19 replacement players; expanded practice squads to 16 players; a three-week minimum stay on injured reserve instead of six weeks; no limit on activating players from IR.

That means 272 games on time within 18 weeks “safely and responsibly,” she said.

DOLPHINS: Cornerback Cre’von LeBlanc signed a one-year contract with Miami, who added depth to their secondary with the status of All-Pro cornerback Xavien Howard in question.

Howard was a no-show at mandatory minicamp, wants to renegotiate the contract he reworked two years ago, and might hold out when training camp starts next week.

LeBlanc, a five-year veteran with 16 career starts, played mostly as a reserve the past two seasons for the Philadelphia Eagles. He has also played for Detroit and Chicago.

Linebacker Shaquem Griffin also signed a one-year deal. He excelled on special teams the past three seasons for Seattle.

JETS: New York placed safety Marcus Maye on the non-football injury list and defensive lineman Quinnen Williams on the physically unable to perform list ahead of the team reporting for camp next week.

Defensive linemen Foley Fatukasi and Vinny Curry were also placed on the non-football injury list. Safety Ashtyn Davis and defensive linemen Jonathan Marshall and Kyle Phillips are also on the PUP list.


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