Bears TE Graham: Felt ‘forced’ to get vaccine

    Dickerson covers the Chicago Bears for ESPN’s NFL Nation. He is the co-host of “Dickerson & Hood” on the ESPN Radio national network, and is heard in Chicago on ESPN 1000.

LAKE FOREST, Ill. — Chicago Bears tight end Jimmy Graham took to social media to express confusion over the NFLPA’s proposal to increase the frequency of COVID-19 testing for vaccinated players and staff.

“Was basically forced into getting the vaccine. Now I’m just confused @NFLPA,” Graham tweeted Thursday morning.

In a later tweet, Graham added, “I’ve done everything I’ve been asked and now I feel like I’m being punished. If I miss a test that you are proposing every day I’ll be fined a max 150K! How does this make sense. How’s the punishment 100X worse than last year and I’m vaccinated now?”

The NFLPA released a memo this week that recommended testing vaccinated players and staff every day they enter the team facility. The recommendations are based on updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the NFLPA’s medical experts.

Sixty-five players and staff members have tested positive for COVID-19 since training camps opened, according to the NFLPA memo.

The Bears currently have four players on the reserve/COVID-19 list: nose tackle Eddie Goldman, long-snapper Patrick Scales, linebacker Christian Jones and offensive tackle Elijah Wilkinson.

Coach Matt Nagy said he had not discussed the matter with Graham but noted that the team works hard to educate players and staff about all coronavirus-related safety protocols.

“All these guys have opinions and beliefs, and I’m never going to criticize anybody for what their belief is. We all have it, and we all have the ability to voice it,” Nagy said before Thursday’s practice. “He [Graham] has not come to me about any of that, and Jimmy and I have a close enough relationship that if there is an issue that him and I would have that one-on-one.

“There is stuff going on every day with this, and I think everybody is figuring out the best thing to do to be safe. And not just in the sports world but in life in general, every state is a little different in what they are doing. Masks, no masks, things are certainly changing.”

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