Colts: Frank Reich’s COVID diagnosis should encourage more vaccinations

ORCHARD PARK, NY - JANUARY 09: Head coach Frank Reich of the Indianapolis Colts (Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images)
ORCHARD PARK, NY - JANUARY 09: Head coach Frank Reich of the Indianapolis Colts (Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images) /

The Indianapolis Colts have unfortunately nabbed headlines for all of the wrong reasons in the weeks leading up to training camp, as they remained among four teams in the NFL with a vaccination rate below 50%, way off the pace of the recommended 85% threshold.

While there’s still time for the Colts to flip this narrative before Week 1 arrives, the potential consequences if enough players don’t get vaccinated could upend their season.

Sure, Jim Irsay revealed a few days ago that Indy finally eclipsed the 50% mark, but that’s the absolute lowest standard a team could have at this juncture. We need to see another leap in vaccination rates before we can say they’re trending in the right direction.

So, what could possibly encourage more players to get vaccinated? How about your vaccinated head coach testing positive just before the start of camp?

That’s right, folks. The Colts announced on Monday that Frank Reich contracted COVID-19 and won’t be with the team in Westfield for the early stages of camp.

Frank Reich contracting COVID-19 should send a clear message to the Colts.

The message should be clear. While willing participants can still contract COVID-19 if they’re  vaccinated, the health risks are extremely minimal. After all, Reich is asymptomatic and should rejoin the team in a matter of days as long as he doesn’t keep testing positive.

Per league protocols, any vaccinated and asymptomatic individual who tests positive must quarantine. In order for them to be cleared to return to their team, they must produce two negative tests, and those tests must come at least 24 hours apart from each other. From that point, testing will be conducted every two weeks.

You see how simple protocols are for vaccinated individuals? For those against receiving the vaccine, it’s an entirely different story. Those players/coaches must go through daily testing, socially-distance in the cafeteria (can’t eat with teammates), enter quarantine after high-risk exposure (vaccinated players don’t), and wear masks during travel/at the team facility.

Who wants to go through all that? Throw the NFL’s latest polarizing announcement into the mix and Colts players better be persuaded to get the vaccine. In case you missed it, the league sent out a memo that said if a game can’t get rescheduled due to a COVID-19 outbreak, and one of those players isn’t vaccinated, that game will be forfeited and result in a loss for that team.

It isn’t complicated: Reich isn’t sick. He isn’t going to get sick and should be back with Indy in relatively short order. Hopefully his diagnosis sends a message to his players.