Washington DE Sweat opposes vaccination effort

Washington pass rusher Montez Sweat said Wednesday he doesn’t support the team’s attempt to persuade players to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Sweat said he “probably won’t get vaccinated until I got more facts and that type of stuff, but I’m not a fan of it at all.”

Asked what was causing his hesitancy, the 24-year-old said: “I haven’t caught COVID yet. I don’t see me treating COVID until I actually get COVID.”

Coach Ron Rivera said his staff and team employees were all fully vaccinated, compared with nearly half of players.

“We’re slowly getting more and more players vaccinated,” Rivera said. “It’s a choice. They’ve got to make a choice. We’re trying to stress the fact that if we can get to herd immunity we’ll really be able to get out there and enjoy things, so hopefully that’ll happen.”

Washington brought in Harvard immunologist Kizzmekia S. Corbett to speak with players Tuesday night about the vaccines. Rivera said it was a good forum to discuss concerns.

“We’re trying to gather as much information and allow the players to get as much information so they can make a choice and make a decision,” Rivera said. “The big thing is we’ve got to be able to facilitate the opportunity for these guys to understand.”

49ers cut short offseason program after injuries

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — The San Francisco 49ers cut short their offseason program by a week when coach Kyle Shanahan sent his veterans home for the summer instead of having them stay in town for a mandatory minicamp next week.

Shanahan said Wednesday he made the decision mostly because of the strong turnout for the voluntary portion of the offseason instead of as a direct reaction to a pair of significant injuries that sidelined safety Tarvarius Moore and offensive lineman Justin Skule on Monday.

Shanahan said his original plan was to practice on Monday and Tuesday this week before surprising players today with a bowling outing instead of practice and telling them minicamp was called off. He ended up doing that Tuesday instead, although some of the rookies will stick around for a little longer.

The major disappointment from the past month were the injuries that sidelined running back Jeff Wilson Jr., Moore and Skule.

Wilson will miss at least the first six weeks of the season with torn meniscus in his knee after getting hurt getting out of a chair in a fluke injury.

Then on Monday, Moore tore his Achilles tendon during a noncontact drill and Skule tore his ACL a few plays later in a pass-blocking drill.

The 49ers have been snakebitten by injuries in recent years, losing several key starters early in 2020 on the way to a 6-10 finish.

Giants RB Barkley has no fear returning from torn ACL

Saquon Barkley isn’t spending a lot of time worrying whether he will return from a major knee injury and be the same running back who gave defensive coordinators headaches preparing for the New York Giants.

His status is uncertain with the start of the NFL season three months away.

Barkley, 24, said there is no fear in returning. Initially, he said a player will have conversations with himself about returning, and then move on.

He has.

On the second day of a mandatory training camp on Wednesday, Barkley shed no clue on whether he would be ready for the start of the season. He’s not even on the field with teammates for the workouts and he is being patient.

The question that seems to be on everyone’s mind is whether he will perform like the player who was the 2018 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year and who had consecutive 1,000 yard-rushing seasons.

Time will tell.

— The Associated Press