Buffalo Bills wide receiver Cole Beasley will miss Sunday’s game against the New England Patriots after testing positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday but the veteran wideout said it’s not the virus that is “keeping me out of this game.”
The Bills announced on Twitter that Beasley, one of the most outspoken players of the league’s health and safety protocols, was placed on the reserve/ COVID-19 list. Being unvaccinated means he will be required to miss at least 10 days before being able to return.
Beasley posted a message on Instagram saying he was experiencing “mild symptoms” but took an opportunity to take a swipe at the NFL’s testing policies for vaccinated and unvaccinated players.
Buffalo Bills wide receiver Cole Beasley (11) runs with the ball as Houston Texans running back Scottie Phillips (27) defends during the second half at Highmark Stadium. (Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports)
“Just to be clear COVID is not keeping me out of this game. The rules are,” he wrote in the post. “Vaxxed players are playing with Covid every week now because they don’t test. One of my vaxxed teammates is in the hospital missing games. I’m sure he didn’t get this same energy. Thank you for those who support. Everyone else, if you don’t get what’s happening then there is nothing anybody can do for you.”
The NFL and the NFLPA recently implemented a new rule change regarding the testing procedures for vaccinated players following last week’s uptick in COVID cases. Under the new policy, fully vaccinated players who show no signs of testing will no longer be subject to weekly testing.
Cole Beasley #11 of the Buffalo Bills signs autographs before the game against the Washington Football Team at Highmark Stadium on Sept. 26, 2021 in Orchard Park, New York. (Joshua Bessex/Getty Images)
A vaccinated player who tests positive could also return after 24 hours with one negative test or produces a CT (cycle threshold) value of 35 or greater, two negative tests or produces a CT value of 35 or greater or two negative Mesa tests, according to ESPN.
Players were previously required to turn back two negative tests before returning. The rule change does not apply to unvaccinated players who must undergo daily testing and miss 10 days if they test positive.
Buffalo Bills wide receiver Cole Beasley (11) is tackled by Houston Texans defensive back Desmond King (25) after a catch in the second quarter at Highmark Stadium. (Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports)
NFL chief medical officer Dr. Allen Sills told ESPN that the change is meant to more precisely target testing, not relax protocol.
“It’s not about loosening our standards,” he said. “If anything, we’re just bringing a higher degree of precision in measuring ourselves against a more precise ruler.”