TAMPA, Fla. — One day after Tampa Bay kicker Ryan Succop tested positive for COVID-19 after having dinner with members of the Tennessee Titans during joint practices, Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians said he’s implementing his own rules outside the NFL’s COVID-19 protocols.
In advance of their first road game this year — the third preseason game, at the Houston Texans — Arians said that even vaccinated players won’t be allowed to leave the team hotel or have family visit the hotel on road trips.
“For us, life is not normal,” Arians said Wednesday. “We’re pretty much under the same protocols — we’re going to be under the same protocols as last year. Because that’s the way it is, especially living here. Tennessee coming in and going out to dinner — they found out the hard way. So did Ryan. You can only tell them so much. Once we get to 53 — even this weekend — our guys are going to make a bunch of sacrifices that you have to make now. Families at the hotel, all those things — they’re all out the window.”
Succop was within NFL rules in going out to dinner during joint practices because he was vaccinated. NFL rules state, “Fully vaccinated members of the Traveling Party will be permitted to leave the hotel to eat and/or use restaurants open to the public, subject to individual Club rules.” Only unvaccinated team members are prohibited from eating at restaurants on the road. But Arians doesn’t want his team taking chances and has the leeway to implement his own policy because it falls under “club rules.”
“There’s league rules and then there’s my rules. We ain’t going anywhere. We’re the same as last year,” Arians said. “I don’t give a crap if they’re vaccinated or not. They ain’t going anywhere.”
“That’s not nothing for me,” Darden said. “I stay in the house. I stay put. I’m not really worried about that.”
As of Wednesday afternoon, no Bucs players have been placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list outside of Succop. But it served as a wake-up call for a team that had very few infections last year.
“Just go out there and be careful with what you do,” wide receiver Tyler Johnson said. “That’s [the] biggest takeaway we all had from it.”
Titans head coach Mike Vrabel is isolating at home after testing positive for COVID-19 and, like Succop, is vaccinated. A Titans team source told ESPN’s Turron Davenport that so far, none of the Titans players who went to dinner with Succop have tested positive for COVID-19 through two days of testing.
The Titans, however, did place one player — outside linebacker Harold Landry — on the reserve/COVID-19 list Wednesday.
The Titans implemented their own measures this week by requiring everyone to wear masks inside their building. Some members of the Bucs have done so voluntarily, too.
“For me personally, I’ve decided to put the mask back on in the building,” wide receivers coach Kevin Garver said. “I’ve got kids and stuff at home. That’s kind of my approach to it.”