Bucs’ Bruce Arians to wear mask, shield on sideline in 2020: ‘I’m very comfortable with COVID-19 protocols’

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NFL players won’t be the only ones wearing some sort of face mask in 2020. In a world where the COVID-19 pandemic continues to rage on, teams take their final step toward firing up training camp around the league, and with justifiably stringent safety measures in place to help prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. Assuming the season kicks off as scheduled, it’s likely you’ll begin seeing coaches and other on-the-field personnel take the same added measure you’re seeing in other leagues — e.g., MLB umpires and managers donning face coverings — as an added layer of protection. 

Count Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians in for that plan, because he says there’s no way he’s going to coach from the booth this coming season.

“I’m very comfortable with our protocols now that I’ve gotten used to the protocols,” Arians told media, via Pro Football Talk. “We had a week of staff meetings where we went through the protocols, how to teach with a mask on and all of the things that we are going to do differently. I’m very, very comfortable with it. As far as on the field, I’ll maintain a mask and probably a shield just for personal use, and coach like I’ve always coached.”

The decision for Arians is a poignant one, considering he’s 68 years old and is a cancer survivor multiple times over. Instead of completely disconnecting from his players, he’s giving a huge nod to what he believes are satisfactory COVID-19 protocols.

“I’m very confident,” he said. “Like I said, the protocols that are in place are extremely safe. It’s going to [take] coaches, players and staff being smart outside the building. Nobody is going to get sick over here because everybody’s got a negative test that’s in the building, so you’re going to get sick somewhere else. We’ve just got to have a lot of discipline this year and I have a lot of confidence we’ll get it done.”

Not everyone shares in Arians’ confidence, however, with a growing list of players deciding to opt out of the coming season. The Bucs have yet to see a player choose to forego 2020, but that could change at a moment’s notice — as evidenced by the slew of opt-outs streaming out of Tom Brady’s former organization. Indirectly, or even likely directly, Arians’ decision might go a long way in convincing his players he believes in the safety protocols. As he readies to take on a much higher risk than those he coaches, he’ll do so in a way that helps protect all involved, but also keeps him right in the thick of it on game days. 



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