The slew of moves to and from the Reserve/COVID-19 list has been dizzying as the omicron variant makes its way through the league. What makes Beasley’s case significant is not only his impact as the second-leading receiver in Buffalo, but also his status as an unvaccinated player in the NFL.
A vaccinated player who tests positive and is asymptomatic will be isolated and contact tracing will occur, same as an unvaccinated player. The rules for returning are different.
According to the original protocol, a vaccinated player would be permitted to return from a positive test when he returns two negative tests that occur at least 24 hours apart. The new protocol provides a series of new combinations of single negative tests and cycle-threshold readings that could potentially return a player as early as one day after a positive test. After that, the player will be tested every week, unless otherwise directed by medical staff. An unvaccinated player who tests positive will be isolated for a period of 10 days and permitted to return if asymptomatic. The unvaccinated player will continue with the unvaccinated protocol of being tested every day upon his return.
With Beasley being one of the more outspoken unvaccinated players, we now know that if he was placed on the list for a positive test, as opposed to having had close contact with an infected individual, he will miss the Bills’ upcoming game in Foxborough. I don’t know the specifics of how strict the five-day quarantine period is for if he was placed on the list merely for having close contact, and if that could potentially allow him to return on the fifth day and play, but it’s possible that being unvaccinated will cause Beasley to miss this weekend’s game regardless.