Players can return to play from a positive test after five days of quarantine regardless of vaccination status under the terms of the latest NFL health and safety protocol update.
Effective this week and regardless of whether a player is vaccinated, a return is possible five days after a positive test and no further testing is required. Players, coaches and staff may all return without restriction provided the individual is symptom-free.
However, vaccinated players may "test out" of protocol with two negative tests that can be taken at the same time or separately.
Unvaccinated players, coaches and staff have no option to test out and must isolate until the five-day quarantine period ends.
At that time, each individual is responsible for self-reporting any symptoms after the five-day quarantine period ends.
Further, an individual must clear at least 24 hours since any fever without the aide of fever-reducing medication; other symptoms must be "resolved or improved"; individual must be cleared by team doctor in consultation with ICS and NFL; and any local regulations or requirements have been satisfied, NFL Network reported according to a league-issued memo to all 32 teams.
Once cleared all individuals must wear a mask for five days after returning except when participating in practice or a game.
Quarantine length for unvaccinated players testing positive had been 10 days regardless of the severity of symptoms. Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and Bills wide receiver Cole Beasley were among unvaccinated individuals who tested positive under the previous protocol.
The change comes as Colts quarterback Carson Wentz, who admittedly has not been vaccinated, was placed on the COVID/reserve list.
The timing is such that he would be cleared to play Sunday -- if he doesn't report symptoms common with COVID-19 -- in a game with playoff implications against the Las Vegas Raiders.