ORCHARD PARK, NY (AP) – One of Bills general manager Brandon Beane’s worst fears came on Tuesday when wide receiver Cole Beasley was among four players sidelined for at least five days after being deemed have close contact with a trainer who tested positive for COVID-19.
Receiver Gabriel Davis and defensive tackles Star Lotulelei and Vernon Butler were also placed in the NFL’s five-day comeback cadence. All four players tested negative, while Beane said the coach had mild symptoms.
While the start of the five-day comeback will depend on when each person last had contact with the coach, all four players are expected to miss the Bills’ final preseason game on Saturday, when Buffalo plays host to the Packers. Green Bay.
Beasley and Davis are expected to be among Buffalo’s top four receivers, while Lotulelei is expected to return to his starting position as the Bills’ top player after choosing not to play last season due to COVID-19 reasons. Butler started 11 games for Buffalo last season and is competing for the main save job behind Lotulelei.
While relieved that this happened during the preseason, Beane said it was a reminder of how quickly a team’s preparations can go off the rails.
âIt’s our new normal. It’s not the normal that we like, but it’s the world we are in, âBeane said. âIt’s been going on for so long that you’d expect the unexpected with it. We did not understand it. We don’t have it under control. And we just have to manage the cards that are dealt to us.
The first sign of concern came in the morning when the trainer, who Beane did not identify, tested positive for COVID-19 after complaining about not feeling well.
Beasley, Davis and Lotulelei were among many players sent home before training, while Butler was sent home after training after determining he was in contact with the coach.
Additional players, including linebackers Matt Milano and AJ Klein, have been sent home for precautionary reasons but have since been cleared by the NFL to resume training on Wednesday.
According to league rules, only unvaccinated players are subject to the five-day re-entry rate. Unvaccinated players are tested daily, while fully vaccinated players should be tested once every 14 days.
And just like that, the controversial subject of vaccinations that has clouded much of the Bills offseason returns less than three weeks before the defending AFC East champions open their regular season by hosting the Steelers. from Pittsburgh on September 12.
Attention to Buffalo began in April when quarterback Josh Allen called the decision to get the shot a personal choice.
A month later, the NFL informed teams they couldn’t release players just because they weren’t vaccinated. The league’s message came in response to Beane hypothetically suggesting that he would consider doing so if it provided more freedom in the team’s facilities for meetings and offseason schedules.
Beasley, meanwhile, has been a vocal critic of the league’s vaccinations and COVID-19 policies. In June, he posted a social media statement threatening to retire after the NFL and NFLPA announced new rules for vaccinated and unvaccinated players.
He opened the training camp by reading a statement in which he repeatedly mentioned a lack of transparency and information on vaccinations. Beasley’s comments contradicted those of Bills coach Sean McDermott, who said the team had done everything possible to educate the players.
Beasley also asked why vaccinated players are not tested every day and posted a rap song in which he says there is “no vaccination” for him.
The effects of COVID-19 hit home last month, when left tackle Dion Dawkins spent four days in hospital wondering if he would survive after contracting the coronavirus while partially vaccinated.
Beane said the vaccination rate among Bills players is around 80% – the same number it was when training camp opened last month.
“This is the world we live in and I’m not going to let it take me down,” said Beane, when asked to get the shot could have prevented players from being placed in re-entry protocol . “It’s like that, and we’ll deal with it now, and we’ll continue to deal with it as we get here.”
The Bills consolidated two spots on their roster by claiming defensive tackle Joey Ivie and wide receiver Rico Gafford on waiver.
Ivie was released by the Indianapolis Colts and shared the 2019 season playing eight games with Kansas City and Tennessee. Gafford was released by the Arizona Cardinals and appeared in eight games with the Raiders in the previous three seasons.
The Bills have also released five players, including linebacker Tyrell Adams, a free agent addition during the offseason, who has spent the previous three years with the Houston Texans. Receiver Lance Lenoir, tight end Bug Howard, safety back Tariq Thompson and offensive lineman Tyler Gauthier have also been released.
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