Detroit Lions LT Taylor Decker changes stance, gets COVID-19 vaccine

Detroit Free Press

Staunchly opposed to getting the COVID-19 vaccine earlier this spring, Detroit Lions left tackle Taylor Decker now says he has been vaccinated.

“I did get vaccinated, and that’s all I’ll say on that topic,” Decker said after Day 2 of training camp Thursday.

Pressed on why he changed his mind, Decker, a returning team captain, said, “Like I said, I just want to leave it at that cause it’s so polarizing. So I just want to leave it at that. I did and that’s that.”

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More than 80% of Lions players had been vaccinated as of Wednesday, with more deciding to get the shot every day, Lions coach Dan Campbell said.

The NFL and its players association have incentivized getting the vaccine by instituting varying sets of work rules for players depending on their vaccination status.

Unvaccinated players are required to undergo daily testing, wear masks inside team facilities and adhere to social distancing guidelines, while vaccinated players are tested once every two weeks and not subject to most pandemic-related restrictions.

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The Lions currently have two players on COVID-19 injured reserve, linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin and offensive lineman Evan Heim. On Thursday, several others walked off the practice field wearing masks, including Nick Williams, Tyrell Williams and Kevin Strong.

Like Decker, Lions running back D’Andre Swift said he had no initial plans to get the vaccine, Swift changed his mind “after they told us about … the restrictions and everything.”

“It influenced (my decision) a lot,” Swift said. “I don’t live close to the facility so having to come in every day and off days or not, come in and get tested just to go back home, I feel like vaccination was real beneficial for me.”

Decker said in April he had no plans to get vaccinatedagainst COVID-19 because “I just don’t feel like it’s the best thing for me.” On Thursday, he said new league work rules are “just how the league works.”

“They’re trying to make a big push for the health and safety of their fans, players, organizations, and they felt like that was the best move,” he said.

Contact Dave Birkett at dbirkett@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett. 

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