The NFL is making it clearer than ever that there aren’t going to be special accommodations for coaches or players in regards to COVID-19 this year. Already the league made it clear that people who don’t get vaccinated for whatever reason will have to abide by all the rules they had to deal with last year. That includes wearing masks at all times in the team facility, maintain separation from other people, and other factors. However, it appears the message isn’t being received. So the Chicago Bears and other teams were just slapped with a massive new update.

According to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network, the league has now mandated that there will be no schedule extension in the event of any COVID-19 outbreaks. If teams suffer them this year due to unvaccinated players and can’t have their games rescheduled? Then don’t expect a 19th week of the season to be tacked on. Instead, they will be forced to forfeit the game. Not only that but players and coaches from both teams won’t receive their payments for that week.

This could have enormous implications.

Winning in the NFL is hard enough. Facing the risk of forfeiting a game is almost certain to scare teams into drastic action. What sort? The possibility that they may actually cut players not so much for their ability on the field but their unwillingness to get vaccinated. This is a real option that cannot be ignored. Certain players out there hold a firm stance against vaccinations. Now that stance is about to be tested with their jobs potentially on the line.

A perfect example is Cole Beasley. The wide receiver has been a key part of the Buffalo Bills’ offense for the past couple of years. He has made his stance on vaccinations crystal clear. He isn’t getting them. While his value to Buffalo is obvious, would they let him put the rest of the team at risk? This is a question every organization including the Bears will have to answer.

It isn’t clear where the Chicago Bears sit on vaccinations

They have kept their medical information private, which isn’t a huge surprise. Head coach Matt Nagy expressed optimism that things were heading in the right direction. The Bears training staff has done a great job of constantly keeping players informed and encouraging them that the benefits of vaccinations far outweigh the risks. They may have some dissenters but it won’t be because they’ve been negligent of the process.

One can imagine Nagy, the trainers, and everybody else in the organization will be even more insistent after this latest revelation from the NFL. The Chicago Bears have a hard enough schedule ahead of them as it is. They don’t need the risk of forfeiting games because of carelessness with COVID-19 hanging over their heads.

They need everybody to be unselfish about this.

If you’re not going to back down from your vaccination stance? Then be prepared to potentially lose your job over it. That might seem cruel but in such a hyper-competitive business? Teams are not going to take unnecessary risks. If you’re expendable and unvaccinated? You’ll be out of a job.