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Dallas Cowboys legend Michael Irvin goes off on unvaccinated players in Big D

NFL: Dallas Cowboys Minicamp
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

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With Dallas Cowboys training camp slated to get going on Wednesday, they are not one of the 13 teams that have met the 85% vaccination threshold around the NFL.

For Dallas and other teams who lag behind the minority, it could have them under the proverbial eight-ball with strict COVID-19 protocols in place at the site of their training camp in Oxnard, California.

One former Cowboys player is now sounding off on members of the team who have opted against getting vaccinated. It comes in the form of Hall of Fame wide receiver Michael Irvin, who is not holding back.

“Yeah, and it should upset them. It should upset them. Dude, you’re not thinking right. I don’t give a damn. Nothing else can be more important,” Irvin told Dallas Cowboys team insider Clarence Hill recently. “You’re not going to get this (winning a Super Bowl) easily. And not being one of the (vaccinated teams) says there’s other things to a great number of people on this team that are more important than winning championships and that makes me worried.”

There’s been some pretty big drama around the NFL when it comes to COVID-19 vaccines with some high-profile players pushing back against receiving a shot despite the science that indicates it’s both safe and effective.

Meanwhile, the powers that be within some organizations have been outspoken proponents of players getting the vaccine. The simple reason for this is a return to normalcy after the 2020 NFL season was defined by COVID-19 more than anything else.

Are the Dallas Cowboys and other teams at a disadvantage?

dallas cowboys ota's
Jun 3, 2021; Frisco, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys offensive tackle La’el Collins (71) and offensive guard Zack Martin (70) and center Tyler Biadasz (63) and offensive guard Connor Williams (52) and offensive tackle Tyron Smith (77) line up in front of quarterback Dak Prescott (4) during voluntary Organized Team Activities at the Star Training Facility in Frisco, Texas. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Yes. From a competitiveness standpoint. It’s that simple. Fully vaccinated players don’t have to wear masks at team facilities and aren’t forced to undergo daily COVID-19 testing. They also have more freedom when it comes to using facilities and when teams travel for road trips.

The larger issue here is pretty obvious. While there are some breakthrough cases (people who get COVID-19 despite being fully vaccinated), the large majority of those who are infected with the virus are not vaccinated.

This would certainly put a team like the Dallas Cowboys at a competitive disadvantage if a star player were to come down with COVID-19 and have to enter the NFL protocols. Last season, we saw multiple games impacted by large numbers of teammates absent due to either contracting the virus or being in close contact with someone who tested positive.

As for Irvin’s stance, he expanded a bit more on his thought process.

“Call me stupid because I try to take any little thing and turn it if you are a championship team. Any little thing because a championship team it’s not something that you can walk by. It’s not candy that you pick up out of the bowl. It’s something that has to be ingrained. Every decision has to be made like you’re winning championships,” the three-time Super Bowl champion said. “If you’re not one of the [vaccinated] teams are you really thinking about winning a championship?”

Coming off a disastrous six-win 2020 campaign, the Dallas Cowboys hope that they can return to relevance in the NFC East. They open up their preseason slate against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the annual Hall of Fame Game on Aug. 5.