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Bruce Arians encourages Bucs players to get COVID vaccine

The Bucs held a vaccine drive for players and families after the last day of minicamp.
Credit: AP Photo/Chris O'Meara
Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians watches from his cart during an NFL football minicamp Tuesday, June 8, 2021, in Tampa, Fla.

TAMPA, Fla. — Tampa Bay is trying to become the first NFL team to win back-to-back Lombardi Trophies for the first time since 2003-04. But to defend that Super Bowl title, Arians says the Bucs may need a shot in the arm – literally.

On the final day of minicamp, the Bucs were offering COVID-19 vaccines to players, coaches, staff and their families before they leave for the six-week break ahead of training camp.

“There’s going to be a long line over there,” Arians said after practice. “We were short up until now, but hopefully we have a pretty good line over there.”

His goal is to have 85 percent of team members vaccinated before the upcoming season. The NFL is expected to relax its protocols for meetings and travel for teams who meet the threshold. 

"Everybody's tired of meeting out here and eating outside, and doing all those things we had to do last year," Arians said. "It's still a personal choice, but I don't see a reason not to be vaccinated...I haven’t spoke to anybody who has resisted. They’ve just been too lazy to get one.”

Washington football coach Ron Rivera brought in an immunology specialist to speak with his team about the vaccine. Arians said he doesn't have plans to do the same.

"I'm the specialist," he said jokingly.

Bucs outside linebacker Shaq Barrett said he and his wife are both vaccinated.

Barrett missed the Tampa Bay's Week 17 game against Atlanta because he was a close contact of a teammate who tested positive. He never tested positive himself but still had to quarantine for five days.  

“It’s to each their own,” Barrett said. “I recommend it. I don’t know why people wouldn’t get it. But whatever helps you sleep at night, you do that. But I would like for 85 percent of the team to be vaccinated.”

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