Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold will soon be fully vaccinated

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Carolina Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold will soon be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

A source with direct knowledge of Darnold’s decision told The Observer that he received his second shot July 16, meaning he will be fully vaccinated July 30.

Darnold, who is in his first season with the Panthers after being traded by the New York Jets, said in June that he was not vaccinated and wanted to look into it more.

“It’s everyone’s choice whether they want to get vaccinated or not,” he said at the time. “So, that’s really all I got on it. I don’t want to go too into detail. ... I’m just staying by myself right now. I don’t have a family or anything like that ... I’m gonna evaluate that on my own and make the best decision that I feel like, again, is the best for myself.”

At training camp move-in day Tuesday, Darnold was wearing a pink wristband. Those wristbands indicate a player has not been vaccinated, received only one shot or has received both shots but it has been fewer than 14 days since their second dose.

When asked whether he was vaccinated Tuesday, Darnold declined to comment on it, but added that he weighed his options and made “a personal decision.”

Panthers head coach Matt Rhule declined to comment on Darnold and any other players’ status regarding COVID-19, but did share that he spoke to the team about the virus.

“As I said to our guys, I think the thing with coronavirus, with the Delta variant and all those things is, it’s going to be an issue even though we’re so highly vaccinated,” Rhule said. “it’s going to be an issue for us to deal with all year long, it’s going to be an issue for the world to deal with, but it can’t be a distraction.

“Everybody’s made their decisions, guys are still making some decisions, guys are in different places in the process. You know what? We still have to be smart, it’s still gonna affect us in different ways, just because it’s affecting the whole world.”

The Carolina Panthers have the third-highest vaccination rate in the NFL behind the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Seattle Seahawks. Roughly 92% of the team had at least one shot as of July 26, per a league source with knowledge of the numbers.

Across the league, about 84% of NFL players had at least one shot, the source said.

“I think one of the great things about our team is I just try to let guys speak for themselves,” Rhule said. “They can address it. But Sam’s done everything I can ask him to do, so I’ll just say that.”

Three Panthers players were put on the reserve/COVID-19 list prior to the first practice of training camp Wednesday — safety Lano Hill, tight end Stephen Sullivan and linebacker Frankie Luvu.

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