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Cole Beasley Added to Bills Reserve/COVID-19 List, Won't Play Against Patriots

Bills wide receiver Cole Beasley tested positive for COVID-19 and will be placed on Buffalo's reserve/COVID-19 list, the team announced on Tuesday.

Beasley, 32, has 76 receptions for 640 yards and one touchdown this season. Because he's unvaccinated, he must quarantine for 10 days and will not play in the Bills' game against the Patriots (9–5) on Sunday. 

In an Instagram post shortly after the news broke, Beasley spoke out against the NFL's policies for unvaccinated players and the negative comments he'd received. He said he doubted a vaccinated teammate who was "in the hospital missing games" was getting "the same energy." Bills offensive lineman Jon Feliciano had said earlier Tuesday that he had spent some time in the emergency room Sunday, according to ESPN's Alaina Getzenberg.

Tuesday marks the second time Beasley was placed on the team's COVID-19 list. In August, he along with Gabriel Davis were both placed on the list after coming in close contact with someone who tested positive for the coronavirus. 

During the Bills training camp ahead of the '21 season, Beasley stated that "without having all the proper information, a player can feel misguided and unsure about a very personal choice."

"Safety does not solely mean avoiding the COVID virus," Beasley said. "Our health is now and years beyond which we are trying to protect with our personal choice by doing all the things we did in our protocols during the very successful 2020 NFL season."

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The CDC has cited numerous studies in stating that "the incidence of SARS-CoV-2 infection, hospitalization, and death is higher in unvaccinated than vaccinated persons."

Before the beginning of the season, the NFL released new protocols allowing vaccinated players to return to near normalcy while unvaccinated players faced many restrictions. Last week, despite the surge in omicron COVID-19 cases, the league relaxed its protocols for vaccinated players with positive tests. If asymptomatic, players can return with just one negative test instead of two tests 24 hours apart.

However, players who are unvaccinated must stay away from the team for a minimum of 10 days. Meaning, Beasley will not play in a must-win game for Buffalo in the AFC East race.

After the showdown against New England, the Bills (8–6) will play against the Falcons and Jets to close the regular season. Buffalo currently sits in the No. 7 spot in the AFC playoff picture. 

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