Veteran Minnesota Vikings offensive line coach Rick Dennison has left the team after refusing to take an experimental COVID-19 vaccination.
Coach Dennison began his NFL career with the Denver Broncos in 1995, and he stayed there until joining the Houston Texans as offensive coordinator in 2009.
Dennison made his way back to the Broncos in 2015 and eventually joined the Minnesota Vikings coaching staff in February 2019. He has also coached for the New York Jets, Buffalo Bills and the Baltimore Ravens.
New England Patriots co-offensive line coach Cole Popovich also announced this week he’ll be leaving his coaching position this season due to league COVID vaccine rules, ESPN reports.
It’s still unknown whether these men were fired or if they chose to quit on their own accord.
The announcements came a day after the NFL revealed a new policy for the 2021 season that forces teams with covid outbreaks to forfeit any game the league can’t reschedule.
In addition to receiving a loss for that game, players would not be paid and the team responsible for the outbreak would have to pay the league for missed revenue.
This is the league’s way of incentivizing players to get the vaccine as they have vowed not to mandate the shot for them.
However, coaches and staff are required by the league to take the COVID jab.
Multiple high-profile players spoke out against the league’s new protocols on Twitter and with coaches leaving the league, more NFL employees will surely be speaking their minds in the near future.