Colts encourage vaccination, but leave final decision up to the players


FILE – Indianapolis Colts general manager Chris Ballard speaks during a press conference at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, in this Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020, file photo. With his team facing major holes at left tackle and edge rusher heading into next week’s NFL Draft in Cleveland, April 29-May 1, 2021, Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay hopes to fill one need with the No. 21 overall pick and the other over the final six rounds. But Irsay isn’t tipping his hand about which way — or perhaps a third way — the Colts are leaning, certainly not with general manager Chris Ballard calling the shots. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy, File)

INDIANAPOLIS – On Wednesday, the National Football League outlined a new set of COVID-19 restrictions in place for training camp and the preseason, wherein vaccinated players will be given far fewer rules to follow than players who chose to forego the vaccine.

Now teams are unveiling the new rules to their rosters.

“There’s no doubt (the topic of vaccinations) can be a little sticky, but we give our players the choice,” says Colts general manager Chris Ballard. “We’re not gonna mandate that everybody get vaccinated.”

Among the new regulations, unvaccinated players must be tested daily for the virus, wear masks, and are not allowed to eat meals with teammates, while fully vaccinated players have no such restrictions.

“It’s a personal choice for everybody in our community, everybody in our country, and everybody on our team,” continues Ballard. “We’re encouraging it, but saying that, we’ll deal with whatever we have to deal with. We saw that we can handle what we had to deal with last year, and whatever the numbers are this year, we’ll deal with it again.”

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