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Fully vaccinated NFL players, staff don’t have to wear masks

The Carolina Panthers were on the practice field when the news came out

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The NFL is not requiring fully vaccinated players and staff to wear masks at team facilities following the CDC’s latest guidance regarding COVID-19.

In a memo sent to clubs on Friday and obtained by The Associated Press, the league and the NFL Players Association made the modification after consulting with their medical and scientific experts. Players and tiered staff who haven’t been fully vaccinated must continue to wear masks until they receive it, if they plan to get it.

The Carolina Panthers had already started their first rookie minicamp session.

Upon hearing the news, General Manager Scott Fitterer made sure to let Head Coach Matt Rhule know.

"I think you probably saw ten coaches take their masks off all at once," Rhule said. "Our staff, we're all vaccinated. We did it for family reasons, but also we want to be sure that we keep our players safe."

Rhule said he respects any player's decision to get vaccinated or not.

Clubs were told to review current and local state regulations and to have the vaccine available for players and staff.

“We expect additional modifications will be made to the protocols consistent with CDC guidelines reflecting the greatly reduced risk of viral infection and transmission in fully vaccinated individuals,” the memo read.