Bears Players Have a Decision to Make

Like with the population in general, getting the COVID-19 vaccination for the Bears doesn't seem to be a no-brainer as they look ahead to five weeks away before returning for training camp.
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When Dick Jauron coached the Bears, one of the last things he told players before they left minicamp for some weeks away prior to training camp was to stay out of trouble.

Jauron was probably even more famous for "nothing good happens at 2:30 in the morning," but he also warned players to stay out of trouble in the weeks prior to training camp.

Lovie Smith was just as cautious and always talked to the players about being responsible men in the weeks before camp.

Matt Nagy had a different kind of message for players in these unprecedented times.

"If you don't get your vaccination it's going to be pretty simple," Nagy said. "You're gong to be going and following the exact rules that we followed last year in 2020 and I can tell you right now that wasn't fun. It's a pain in the tail. 

"So, I mean, for me it was really simple, because every day I walk out of my office and I go to grab my mask and realize I don't have to (now). I kind of like that."

Some Bears have said they've had the shot, like Sam Mustipher. Some said they're getting it, but hadn't done it yet. Darnell Mooney was among them.

Many Bears during offseason work said they needed to "study" the vaccine further before making a decision.

"I really haven't made a decision on that yet as far as getting the vaccine or whatnot, but right now, really just want to do your studying on it and seeing the pros and cons to it," running back Damien Williams said. "But I think eventually I'll most likely have the shot."

Allen Robinson was another who talked about doing more research on it. He also was on a Zoom call last week wearing a mask still, when others were not.

Germain Ifedi was among those who said he needed to do more research on it but generally acknowledged it to be a good thing. Cole Kmet chose to keep his comments on vaccinations to himself.

The Bears don't want to reveal how many players have been vaccinated, and the privacy issues are valid.

"I don't know exactly," Nagy said. "I know our trainer (Andre Tucker) has all the exact numbers.

"I would say this. What we've done this entire time with the vaccination is we've really educated them and encouraged them as much as we can. And I think we've encouraged our players and we kind of agree in a big way that we hit it every day. And then we educate the why part behind it. That's all we can do. I would say that in general terms, we're sitting in a really good place right now. We feel good about where we're at as a team collectively. And that we want to just keep on going."

Nagy's talks to players about the vaccines have been an attempt so far to persuade.

"We all have a belief of what we want to do," Nagy said. "So I start there. The next part is we just take the education that we get from the experts and then we're the conduit to the players. And I think what I've learned is that you cannot talk about it and hope that people understand the whys, or why-nots and everything that goes with it, or you can talk about it a lot and we've decided to really try to hit it every day with these guys. And you never know, there's some questions that guys have and don't want to ask."

When training camp comes, the time for questions are over. At that point, facemasks of a different type become important.

The pandemic season was 2020.

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