In moves aimed at avoiding any more disruptions to the season, the NFL announced new COVID-19 protocols Saturday that will take effect following this weekend’s games.

Maybe the most significant is that fully vaccinated players and staffers will no longer have to undergo weekly testing.

If a fully vaccinated player or staffer reports feeling symptoms, they will have to isolate immediately and be tested and will not be permitted to interact with the team until producing a negative test.

While that struck some observers as putting trust in the honor system, the NFL stated that all players and staff “will be subject to ‘stringent symptom screening’ prior to entering a team facility each day before being permitted to enter in order to ensure any symptomatic individual will be tested prior to entering.”

Under the new protocols reached in agreement with the NFL Players Association, there will also be “targeted” testing that includes “sample selection based on position group and staff cohorts.”


Unvaccinated players will still have to test daily.

The moves came after more than 130 players were placed on the COVID-19 reserve list this week, which compelled the NFL to change the schedules for three games to try to allow some of those players to become eligible to play, including the Seahawks’ game against the Rams.

That game was scheduled for Sunday at 1:25 p.m. and will now be played Tuesday at 4 p.m. with the NFL’s hope that some of the 29 players the Rams have placed on the list will be able to return by Tuesday.

The Seahawks have two players on the list — receiver Tyler Lockett and running back Alex Collins.

According to a tweet from Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network — the league’s official media arm — “the NFL believes overwhelming majority of recent cases are milder Omicron variant.”

In a statement released to the NFL Network, commissioner Roger Goodell also cited the Omicron variant as a reason for changing the league’s testing strategy.

“Medical information strongly indicates that this variant is significantly more contagious but possibly less severe than prior variants, particularly for people who are fully vaccinated and have received a booster shot,” Goodell wrote. “Our experience with the Omicron variant is fully consistent with this expectation — while more players and staff are testing positive, roughly two-thirds of those individuals are asymptomatic, most of the remaining individuals have only mild symptoms, and the virus appears to clear positive individuals more rapidly than was true with the Delta and other variants. In many respects, Omicron appears to be a very different illness from the one we first confronted in the spring of 2020.”


Players can continue to volunteer for testing at any time.

The Seahawks had been testing players twice a week — on Mondays and Wednesdays.

Transaction deadline moved back for Tuesday’s game

The NFL also announced Saturday that the Seahawks and Rams will be allowed to make moves on their roster up until 1 p.m., or three hours prior to kickoff.

Usually, any moves with the 53-man roster must be made 24 hours prior to kickoff.

The flexibility was given to allow for the players on the reserve list to test out and be eligible to play.

While that may be more of an advantage for the Rams, it also increases the chances of Lockett and Collins playing. Both tested positive on Thursday after feeling symptoms, after each had tested negative on Wednesday.

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said Friday that neither player had tested negative after the positive test and each remained on the reserve list as of Saturday. Under new protocols announced earlier this week, players can now return to play if they produce two negative tests in one day, one of which is a rapid test. Previously, the tests had to be 24 hours apart.


The Rams removed six players from the COVID reserve list Saturday, including receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and running back Darrell Henderson Jr.

However, the Rams also placed offensive tackle Joseph Notebook and defensive back Robert Rochell on the reserve list. That means the Rams still have 25 players on the list.

QB coach Davis leaving for Auburn

Seahawks quarterbacks coach Austin Davis was officially named as the new offensive coordinator at Auburn on Saturday.

Davis was a backup quarterback for the Seahawks in 2017, started his coaching career with the Seahawks as an offensive assistant in 2019 and has been the QB coach the past two years.

Davis played at Southern Mississippi and was born in Meridian, Mississippi.

“Being born and raised in Mississippi, you know very well what SEC football is all about and I couldn’t be more excited about the opportunity that is before me,” Davis said in a statement, “I’ve been very fortunate to work for one of the best organizations in all of sports and would like to extend a special thanks to Pete Carroll and John Schneider for believing in me as a young coach.’’


The Seahawks did not practice Saturday. But the league required an injury report and they listed offensive tackle Brandon Shell (shoulder) and defensive tackle Bryan Mone (knee) as players who would not have participated had they practiced. Safety Quandre Diggs (knee) was listed as limited. Everybody else on the 53-man roster was listed as a full participant.