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NFL memo says it expects all teams’ ops staffs to get vaccine unless ‘bona fide’ reason not to

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The NFL expects the key members of each team’s football operations staff to receive a COVID-19 vaccine unless they have a “bona fide” medical or religious reason not to, according to a memo issued to all clubs Tuesday.

NFL chief medical officer Dr. Allen Sills said last month that no NFL employee, including players, would be required to be vaccinated as a condition of employment, and that remains the case. Tuesday’s edict, however, outlines the repercussions for those Tier 1 and Tier 2 employees who choose not to. Those groups do not include players, but rather coaches, front-office executives, medical personnel, video specialists and others who traditionally work closely with players.

According to the memo, “any staffer that refuses to be vaccinated without either a religious or medical reason will not be eligible for Tier 1 or 2 status and therefore will not be permitted access to the ‘football only’ restricted area and may not work directly or in close proximity with players.” Non-vaccinated employees also won’t be eligible for an anticipated relaxation of certain COVID-19 protocols for vaccinated individuals.

The league’s vaccination arrangement with players is being negotiated separately with the NFL Players Association, along with other pandemic-related offseason protocols. In the meantime, teams have been asked to file weekly reports on employee vaccination numbers. The NFL and NFLPA are exchanging proposals on a vaccination threshold for individual teams that, according to Tuesday’s memo, would “give vaccinated individuals significant relief from requirements relating to testing, PPE use, physical distancing, travel and other subjects.”

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Source — New England Patriots set to re-sign quarterback Brian Hoyer

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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Veteran quarterback Brian Hoyer is set to re-sign with the New England Patriots, a league source confirmed to ESPN on Monday.

He joins a crowded position headlined by Cam Newton, 2021 first-round draft choice Mac Jones and third-year veteran Jarrett Stidham.

Hoyer, who had taken a free-agent visit with the New York Jets earlier this offseason as a possible backup to No. 2 overall pick Zach Wilson, opened last season as the Patriots’ top backup, before slipping to the No. 3 spot behind Stidham after the fourth week.

Hoyer, 35, provides backup quarterback insurance as a potential starting competition unfolds ahead of him. Coach Bill Belichick has declared Newton the top option at this time, while leaving the door open for Jones — and possibly Stidham — to challenge him for the starting role.

“Somebody would have to play better than [Newton] does,” Belichick said on April 29.

The return of Hoyer, who previously played for the team in three different stints (2009-2011, 2017-2018 and 2020), provides the Patriots flexibility and insurance depending on how a starting competition plays out.

In training camp last year, Hoyer had arguably the most consistent performance among Patriots quarterbacks. That helped him initially beat out Stidham, who had been the No. 2 option in 2019.

Hoyer was unexpectedly thrust into a starting role a few days before the Patriots’ Week 4 road game against the Kansas City Chiefs, as a result of Newton testing positive for COVID-19 the night before the team was scheduled to travel.

The Patriots lost 26-10 in a contest that was pushed back one day, with the team traveling on the morning of the game. Hoyer went 15 of 24 for 130 yards, with no touchdowns and one interception, and had a notable breakdown at the end of the first half in taking a sack when the Patriots were out of timeouts, costing them a chance at a field-goal attempt.

He also lost a fumble on a strip-sack, which was his final play before Belichick replaced him with Stidham. From that point, Hoyer served as the Patriots’ third quarterback the rest of the year.

The Boston Globe first reported the Patriots’ intention to re-sign Hoyer.

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Off-the-cuff Detroit Lions coach Dan Campbell jokes about bringing pet lion to practice

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If bringing a Super Bowl to Detroit required losing an arm than new Lions head coach Dan Campbell says he would be armless. Although Campbell has yet to coach an actual game in Motown, the first-year sideline leader is already making an early case as one of the most entertaining coaches in the league with his off-the-cuff style.

On Sunday, Campbell made a guest appearance on the “Pardon My Take” podcast on which he shared an idea that he actually presented to Lions owner Sheila Ford Hamp about having a pet lion around the team’s practice facility.

“I don’t think we’re going to be able to do it, but I would love to literally just have a pet lion. Just a legit pet lion on a chain, a big ass chain, and he really is my pet,” Campbell said on the podcast. “We just walk around the building, we go out to practice, we’re at seven-on-seven, we’re behind the kicker when he’s kicking. There we are.”

Campbell further imagined that the lion would be “on command.” Campbell joked that if a position group wasn’t performing well, he could have the lion relieve itself in front of the group.

“I mean, think about it,” he said. “That would be outstanding.”

Campbell also made national headlines during his introductory news conference in January, notably with his impromptu answers that included his vision for the team being tough enough to “bite a kneecap off.” The lion reference was just the latest example, although he doubts it’ll ever happen.

“The problem is I don’t know if PETA’s gonna to allow that, though. It’s gonna be hard,” Campbell said. “Believe me though we would take great care of it. It would be fed well, it would be petted, it would be manicured. I might end up losing an arm because of it, but that would be even better because it would validate what, this is a freaking, this a creature now. This is an animal. This thing, this is from the wild.”

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Firefighters rescue kitten that became stuck in New York Giants CB Isaac Yiadom’s car

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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Firefighters in Florida were called to rescue a cat — not out of a tree, but from the undercarriage of a car owned by New York Giants cornerback Isaac Yiadom, officials said.

Rescue workers responded to Yiadom’s home Sunday morning, according to a Facebook post by the Fort Lauderdale Fire Department.

Firefighters jacked up the Maserati and partially disassembled the car to reach the small tabby, which was stuck above the rear differential. The cat didn’t appear to be injured.

Yiadom was drafted by the Denver Broncos in 2018 and then traded to the Giants in September.

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