Detroit Lions’ Taylor Decker says he won’t get COVID-19 vaccine shot: ‘I have my reasons’

Detroit Free Press

The NFL is trying to incentivize players and team personnel to get vaccinated against COVID-19, but one prominent Detroit Lion said he has no plans to get inoculated.

“I did not get vaccinated and I’m not going to,” Lions left tackle Taylor Decker said Tuesday. “I’m just not going to speak to the reasons why. I have my reasons. I don’t know, that’s such a hot button topic, but me personally, I just don’t feel like it’s the best thing for me so I’m not going to do it.”

The NFL and the players association agreed that players will not be required to get vaccines to play this fall, but the two sides are encouraging everyone to get vaccinated.

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ESPN reported last week that vaccinated players will not be required to quarantine if they are deemed a high-risk close contact of an infected person, and will be able to bypass some of the protocols that were put in place last season to combat the coronavirus.

Additionally, NFL teams are hosting vaccination education programs for players and team employees, and socially distancing rules have been relaxed for vaccinated personnel during this week’s NFL draft.

Teams can have up to 10 fully vaccinated people in their draft room without masks, or 20 people if masks are worn. The Lions plan to have 10 people in their draft room Thursday, general manager Brad Holmes said.

Last year, players and football-essential team employees were required to undergo daily nasal swab testing and wear contract tracing devices during their time in team facilities.

The Lions are conducting all meetings virtually to start their offseason program, and Decker said he has not been to Allen Park to meet head coach Dan Campbell in person yet.

New Lions linebacker Alex Anzalone said Tuesday he received his first dose of the vaccination earlier this month, and is scheduled to have his second shot May 4.

“I come from a family of doctors,” Anzalone said. “My dad’s a doctor, both my brothers are doctors. They got fully vaccinated, I think back in December, and I think that I don’t judge anyone for getting vaccinated…  Obviously, it’d be nice to be a part of the solution, but if you feel otherwise or there are risk concerns and everything like that, which I understand as well.”

The Lions are hosting a vaccine clinic at Ford Field in conjunction with the state of Michigan and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Lions president Rod Wood said he received his vaccination at the clinic in March. He said at the time the Lions would encourage all players to get vaccinated.

“That’s something we’re certainly going to focus on once the players get back in the building and together with the players association doing everything we can to keep them informed (of) the safety measures that are in place with the vaccines,” Wood said. “It’s a personal choice, but we’ll do everything we can to encourage it.”

Contact Dave Birkett at Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.

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