ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — The Bills are back on the field in Orchard Park for voluntary OTA workouts. In a sense, it's a return to normalcy for the NFL offseason, but head coach Sean McDermott is quick to point out things aren't normal yet.
McDermott says they are operating at about "60-percent normal" relative to protocols for COVID-19 that still exist within the building as well as other team headquarters around the league.
Central to that is the issue of player vaccination.
The NFL is not mandating that players be vaccinated, and it remains a controversial issue as teams try to work their way back toward normalcy.
"I'm concerned about it... Timing is coming into play," McDermott said.
McDermott notes the season is still a ways off, but is concerned about the length of time it takes (based on chosen vaccine) to become fully vaccinated. He says he's approaching the issue first with respect, and thinks it's important to educate players on the issues surrounding that decision.
"There's health and safety, and then there's also what you've got to do to do your job," McDermott said. "I think those are the two prongs of the fork right now that must be considered and considered seriously."
Josh Allen added, "What the right answer is and how to go about it, we're not sure and we're trying to get to a conclusion. But at the same time we're letting everybody make their own personal decision on this matter and that's really all I have to say about that."
Beyond Allen, McDermott would not confirm if any other players had or hadn't been vaccinated.
McDermott says that more than 70 players have turned out for the start of voluntary workouts.
As for training camp, he says the operations staff is looking into the possibility of training camp being held at St. John Fisher College, but admitted it will be a "heavy lift" relative to existing protocols.