Giants Head Coach Joe Judge: 'It's A Lot Easier ... If You're Vaccinated'By Steve Overmyer

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — The Jets and the Giants hit the field at training camp Wednesday.

The COVID protocols have loosened for players that are vaccinated but not so much for those who are not.

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As CBS2’s Otis Livingston reports, Wednesday was the first day fans could see the 90 New York Jets players with a chance to make the squad.

That includes offensive lineman Mekhi Bechton, who said he was good last season, but he’s looking to be great in 2021.

Unfortunately, there were only 89 players on the field because number one draft pick Zach Wilson wasn’t there. He’s still involved in a contract dispute with the Jets about the language dealing with guaranteed money and offsets.

Wilson will be the last first-round pick to sign after the 49ers quarterback Trey Lance signed his deal Wednesday morning.

Valuable time is being lost.

“Obviously can’t build that chemistry when he’s not here, but him not being here, you know, like I said, it’s obviously different, but you know, we got to make due with what we got. We all know Zach is working out the business side of things, which we all understand. When he gets here, we’re gonna hit the ground running,” wide receiver Corey Davis said.

The Jets announced they have 90% of the players and 100% of the coaches vaccinated.

Watch Otis Livingston’s report —

The New York Giants are also dealing with COVID protocols as they try to avoid an outbreak.

The active Giants training center is proof the NFL is as close to normal as possible.

“In terms of on the field? Look, there’s protocols players have to follow. If you’re not vaccinated or fully through the process yet of being vaccinated, you’ve gotta wear that Oakley mouth shield over your helmet. When they take their helmets off, they’ve gotta put masks on,” Giants head coach Joe Judge said.

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League-wide, 85% of players have been vaccinated. Those who aren’t will face stricter guidelines. They’ll have to wear a mask on the sidelines, and they can’t even eat with their teammates.

Defensive end Leonard Williams was vaccinated within the past 14 days.

“I would encourage most people to do it. At the same time, though, it’s like everyone has their freedom to do what they wanna do. The only reason why I encourage to do it is because, you know, certain protocols hinder us from being together in certain ways … and preventing, like, any loss of game,” he said.

Last year, several games were moved because of COVID. The NFL will not be nearly as flexible this season.

If a game has to be canceled because of an outbreak and can’t be rescheduled, the team will be forced to forfeit.

COVID VACCINE

Guard Will Hernandez survived COVID last year.

“Is there more incentive this year than ever before to get vaccinated?” CBS2’s Steve Overmyer asked.

“I’m the last person that gets to talk about vaccination. I decided to get mine. I respect the decision of any of my teammates and any coaches that if they decide to get theirs or not, I’m nobody to judge, and we’re just gonna leave it at that,” he said.

If there’s a breakthrough case with a vaccinated player, they can return with two negative tests. If the player was unvaccinated, they must be quarantined for 10 days.

“Reality is it’s a lot easier to go ahead and live life as a professional player if you’re vaccinated. If you’re not vaccinated, you just have to follow all the protocols associated with it, and it’s our job as a team to enforce those and educate our players along the way,” Judge said.

The Giants did say Wednesday three of their players have entered into COVID-19 protocols, but just like the Jets, 100% of the Giants coaching staff has been vaccinated.

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CBS2’s Otis Livingston contributed to this report.

Steve Overmyer