The development involving New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton being sidelined until Thursday stemmed from an apparent misunderstanding about COVID-19 procedures regarding travel.
Newton, with team permission, had to leave the New England area for an approved medical appointment.
This could deal with Newton’s status in terms of vaccination.Under COVID protocols, vaccinated players are exempt from daily testing and are allowed to travel.
In the wake of Newton's unavailability, Texans quarterback Tyrod Taylor was asked if he's vaccinated and he declined to elaborate on his status.
“I think that's a personal matter to speak about it," Taylor said. "I can't say whether it's the right or wrong thing. I think it's just a personal choice. I think guys on this team have taken the right precautions to do the right thing and to protect one another. I mean, regardless of vaccine or not, I think you still have to treat it as if it's just as real as it was last year.
"I mean, you see how I have my mask on me and I try to keep it on at all times. I think that has to be the mindset moving forward for everyone, whether they are vaccinated or not, just because there's something coming out each and every day, so many new reports about it. In order for us to have everyone healthy this season, we have to take the right precautions.”
With Newton sidelined, rookie Mac Jones, a first-round draft pick from Alabama who has been impressive in training camp and preseason games with 26 of 38 accuracy for 233 yards and no touchdowns and no interceptions, will run the offense.
"He received daily Covid tests, which were all negative,” the Patriots said in a statement. “Due to a misunderstanding about tests conducted away from NFL facilities, and as required by the NFL-NFLPA protocols, Cam will be subject to the five-day entry cadence process before returning to the facility.”
Taylor said that the pandemic remains a talking point amongst players in the locker room, just not to the degree that it was discussed last year, noting: "It's definitely a conversation, but not as much as last year."
Aaron Wilson has covered the NFL for 20 years and has previously written for The Houston Chronicle and The Baltimore Sun. He’s on Twitter: @AaronWilson_NFL and Instagram: @aaronwilson7128