Sean McDermott

The NFL’s Longest-Tenured Head Coaches

After the 2022 offseason produced 10 new head coaches, this one brought a step back in terms of turnover. Five teams changed HCs, though each conducted thorough searches — four of them lasting until at least January 31.

The Colts and Cardinals hired their HCs after Super Bowl LVII, plucking the Eagles’ offensive and defensive coordinators (Shane Steichen, Jonathan Gannon). The Cardinals were hit with a tampering penalty regarding their Gannon search. Conducting their second HC search in two years, the Broncos saw multiple candidates drop out of the running. But Denver’s new ownership group convinced Sean Payton to step out of the FOX studio and back onto the sidelines after just one season away. The Panthers made this year’s first hire (Frank Reich), while the Texans — running their third HC search in three years — finalized an agreement with DeMeco Ryans minutes after the Payton news broke.

Only one of last year’s top 10 longest-tenured HCs lost his job. A turbulent Colts year led to Reich being fired barely a year after he signed an extension. During a rather eventful stretch, Jim Irsay said he reluctantly extended Reich in 2021. The Colts passed on giving interim HC Jeff Saturday the full-time position, despite Irsay previously indicating he hoped the former center would transition to that role. Reich landed on his feet, and after losing Andrew Luck to a shocking retirement just before his second Colts season, the well-regarded play-caller now has another No. 1 pick (Bryce Young) to mentor.

After considering a Rams exit, Sean McVay recommitted to the team and is overseeing a reshaped roster. Andy Reid also sidestepped retirement rumors, staying on with the Chiefs after his second Super Bowl win. This will be Reid’s 25th season as an NFL head coach.

Here is how the 32 HC jobs look for the 2023 season:

  1. Bill Belichick (New England Patriots): January 27, 2000
  2. Mike Tomlin (Pittsburgh Steelers): January 27, 2007; extended through 2024
  3. John Harbaugh (Baltimore Ravens): January 19, 2008; extended through 2025
  4. Pete Carroll (Seattle Seahawks): January 9, 2010; extended through 2025
  5. Andy Reid (Kansas City Chiefs): January 4, 2013; extended through 2025
  6. Sean McDermott (Buffalo Bills): January 11, 2017; extended through 2027
  7. Sean McVay (Los Angeles Rams): January 12, 2017; extended through 2023
  8. Kyle Shanahan (San Francisco 49ers): February 6, 2017; extended through 2025
  9. Mike Vrabel (Tennessee Titans): January 20, 2018; signed extension in February 2022
  10. Matt LaFleur (Green Bay Packers): January 8, 2019: signed extension in July 2022
  11. Zac Taylor (Cincinnati Bengals): February 4, 2019; extended through 2026
  12. Ron Rivera (Washington Commanders): January 1, 2020
  13. Mike McCarthy (Dallas Cowboys): January 7, 2020
  14. Kevin Stefanski (Cleveland Browns): January 13, 2020
  15. Robert Saleh (New York Jets): January 15, 2021
  16. Arthur Smith (Atlanta Falcons): January 15, 2021
  17. Brandon Staley (Los Angeles Chargers): January 17, 2021
  18. Dan Campbell (Detroit Lions): January 20, 2021
  19. Nick Sirianni (Philadelphia Eagles): January 21, 2021
  20. Matt Eberflus (Chicago Bears): January 27, 2022
  21. Brian Daboll (New York Giants): January 28, 2022
  22. Josh McDaniels (Las Vegas Raiders): January 30, 2022
  23. Kevin O’Connell (Minnesota Vikings): February 2, 2022
  24. Doug Pederson (Jacksonville Jaguars): February 3, 2022
  25. Mike McDaniel (Miami Dolphins): February 6, 2022
  26. Dennis Allen (New Orleans Saints): February 7, 2022
  27. Todd Bowles (Tampa Bay Buccaneers): March 30, 2022
  28. Frank Reich (Carolina Panthers): January 26, 2023
  29. Sean Payton (Denver Broncos): January 31, 2023
  30. DeMeco Ryans (Houston Texans): January 31, 2023
  31. Shane Steichen (Indianapolis Colts): February 14, 2023
  32. Jonathan Gannon (Arizona Cardinals): February 14, 2023

Bills Extend HC Sean McDermott, GM Brandon Beane

Two pillars of the Bills’ run of recent success will remain in place for years to come. The team announced on Friday that extensions have been signed by both head coach Sean McDermott and general manager Brandon Beane.

These new deals will run through 2027, the year which will mark one decade since their joint arrival in Buffalo. Both McDermott and Beane had previously signed extensions in 2020, but now their contractual futures will be aligned with one another. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport tweets that these new contracts had been agreed to “for some time,” but now long-term stability has been ensured well in advance of training camp and another season in which the franchise faces considerable expectations.

The Bills snapped an 18-year playoff drought during McDermott and Beane’s first season at the helm, and the team has been among the league’s most successful since that point. The selection of Josh Allen as a franchise quarterback has provided sustained performances in the regular season in particular, and only one campaign (Allen’s rookie year in 2018) outside the postseason. Overall, McDermott has posted a 62-35 record with the Bills.

The maturation of Allen (especially after the trade acquisition of wideout Stefon Diggs in 2020) has seen the Bills become one of the league’s elite offenses. Over the past three seasons, the team has ranked in the top five in both total and scoring offense, while generally delivering strong defensive performances as well. Buffalo has ranked in the top six in total defense four times under McDermott, whose first head coaching gig came after defensive coordinator stints with the Eagles and Panthers.

McDermott’s background on that side of the ball will become increasingly important in 2023, since former DC Lezlie Frazier has stepped away from his position, leaving McDermott in place as defensive play-caller. On offense, continued success under Brian Daboll successor Ken Dorsey will be a key goal after the latter led the Bills to a second-place finish in scoring last year.

Overall, this coming season (and those in the short- to intermediate future, given the franchise’s current core) will of course be judged by postseason success. The Bills have advanced to the AFC title game once under the McDermott/Beane regime, coming within 13 seconds of a Super Bowl appearance in 2020. Moves such as the signing of edge rusher Von Miller to a six-year, $120MM deal last offseason show the team’s willingness to commit to a win-now approach through Allen’s prime. They will once again face a plethora of strong competitors in their division and the AFC as a whole, though.

Much remains to be seen regarding McDermott’s and Beane’s ability to remain in Buffalo through the duration of these new pacts, of course. Continued strong showings in the regular season (like the four consecutive double-digit win seasons the team has strung together) will go a long way in ensuring stability on the sidelines and in the front office, however. A breakthrough in the playoffs would only add to the recognition both individuals have received during their tenure so far, and confirm the franchise’s latest investment in them as a sound one.

Sean McDermott To Call Bills’ Defensive Plays

After the announced departure of defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier, the Bills were in need of a plan for who would be calling plays on defense. General manager Brandon Beane confirmed that the team wouldn’t search externally for a replacement, leaving the responsibility of determining the role to head coach Sean McDermott. Well, according to Mike Giardi of NFL Network, McDermott will be shouldering the role himself.

Two other coaches on staff were considered to be top candidates for the play-calling responsibilities. Senior defensive assistant Al Holcomb recently joined the Bills’ staff after serving as interim defensive coordinator for the Panthers last season. Defensive backs coach and passing game coordinator John Butler was also thought to be worthy of consideration. Butler is extremely well-regarded as a defensive coach and had served as defensive coordinator during his time at Penn State.

Ultimately, Buffalo will turn to its skipper to take on the added responsibility. McDermott is obviously one of the more respected minds in football after helping to turn the Bills into a genuine contender. He also earned his position as head coach after stints as the Eagles’ defensive coordinator (2009-10) and the Panthers’ defensive coordinator (2011-16). McDermott had two strong seasons with the Panthers, fielding the second-best defense in yards and points allowed in 2013 and the sixth-best defense in yards and points allowed in 2015, when Carolina went the Super Bowl.

The Bills will certainly miss Frazier, who led a Bills defense that has allowed the fewest yards in each of the past two seasons while allowing the fewest points in 2021 and the second-fewest points in 2022. But Buffalo has a capable leader who will step up and attempt to keep the Bills defense at the top of the league.

Bills Notes: Miller, DC Replacement, RB Addition

Von Miller has five years remaining on the deal he signed last offseason to join the Bills. That means the 33-year-old’s playing days should continue for at least the short-term future, but he already has a plan for his next career after he hangs up his cleats.

In an interview with 9News’ Mike Klis, Miller said he intends to pursue a career as a general manager once his playing career ends. He spent time at the Combine speaking with executives around the league to gain advice on how to one day begin the process of transitioning to the front office.

“It’s what I want to do,” the future Hall of Famer said. “I don’t have any experience. I know what a great football team looks like. I know what a winning football team looks like. A great staff, great equipment guys, great athletic trainers. I know what that looks like, I know what it takes to build those teams but that’s it.”

Miller noted that the success John Elway had both as a player and GM with the Broncos served as inspiration for his desire to work in a front office. He added that he has no intention of coaching once his playing days are over, so his success in finding a role in management will be something to watch down the road.

Here are some other notes out of Orchard Park:

  • The decision by Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier to step away for the 2023 season leaves the team with a notable vacancy on their staff. As expected, an external hire will not be coming, though. GM Brandon Beane confirmed that filling the DC spot will be handled internally, and that head coach Sean McDermott will “head” the process of determining who calls plays for the unit next season (Twitter links via ESPN’s Alaina Getzenberg). McDermott serving as de-facto DC would come as no surprise given his background on that side of the ball, but the Bills have other candidates for a short-term promotion, including highly-regarded defensive backs coach John Butler.
  • The Bills added to their running backs room at the draft last offseason by selecting James Cook in the second round. They made another move at the trade deadline by acquiring Nyheim Hines, but Bean indicated (via Jon Scott of Spectrum News, on Twitter) that the team will be in the market for another back this year. Specifically, a power back to compliment the relatively undersized Cooks and Hines is what the team is targeting. Devin Singletary is one of several free agents still available at the position, and a departure would not come as a surprise. Especially is Singletary signs elsewhere, RB will be a position of interest for the Bills in the near future.

Bills DC Leslie Frazier To Step Away

Yet another team will make a coordinator change this offseason. The Bills will need a new defensive coordinator; Leslie Frazier is planning to step away from the team.

Frazier informed GM Brandon Beane last week he wanted to take a step back from football, Alaina Getzenberg of tweets. The Bills announced their six-year DC’s departure but noted the 63-year-old assistant plans to return in 2024. This could create an unusual situation regarding Sean McDermott‘s right-hand man, but that role will indeed involve new personnel next season.

The former Vikings HC had become the Bills’ play-caller on defense, and the team had consistently produced top-tier units. The Bills have ranked first or second in scoring defense in three of the past four years, finishing second in that category this past season. That placement came despite the team losing Micah Hyde in September and seeing Von Miller‘s Thanksgiving Day ACL tear shut him down. Several other key Buffalo starters missed time during an ultimately disappointing season for the AFC East champs, who struggled in a one-sided playoff loss to Cincinnati.

McDermott may well step in as the Bills’ play-caller on defense, Beane adds. That would make for a simple transition, and the team will have former McDermott Panthers coworker and recent Carolina interim DC Al Holcomb on staff as a senior defensive assistant. Defensive backs coach John Butler is also well-regarded, and KPRC’s Aaron Wilson notes the former Penn State DC coming in and replacing Frazier in what could amount to an interim DC role would be logical (Twitter link).

A former Bears defensive back in the early 1980s, Frazier has been on NFL coaching staffs since 1999. He quickly rose to the DC level, being part of Marvin Lewis‘ Bengals rebuild before serving in that same position with the Vikings in the late 2000s. Minnesota tabbed Frazier to replace Brad Childress in 2011, and Tampa Bay employed him as its DC from 2014-15. This Bills role has brought HC interest, though no interviews came this year. Frazier hesitancy regarding his coaching future may have contributed to no such meetings taking place, and it will be interesting to see if he steps back in as Buffalo’s DC in 2024.

Damar Hamlin Roundup: Bills-Bengals Resumption, AFC Alterations, More

With Bills safety Damar Hamlin continuing to make progress in his recovery, and the NFL having moved forward with their re-worked playoff scenarios for the AFC, attention will now increasingly turn to the upcoming postseason. Here is a quick roundup, though, of some notes pertaining to the game in which he suffered cardiac arrest, and the process by which the new seeding parameters were arrived at:

  • Much has been made about the league’s intention of resuming the Buffalo-Cincinnati contest after Hamlin was taken off the field via ambulance. The ESPN broadcast of the game mentioned a five-minute warm-up period being relayed to both teams – something which NFL EVP Troy Vincent has, on multiple occasions, emphatically denied. Detailing the moments after Hamlin was resuscitated on the field, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reports that an official told the Bengals a 10-minute warm-up period would take place before resuming the game. Further conversations ensured, however, which included Bills head coach Sean McDermott stating that he was willing to forfeit the game if it ensured it was not played on Monday night. The Bengals, Florio adds, were accommodating of the Bills’ wishes, though they were under the impression the contest would be finished on Tuesday until realizing the Bills had retuned to Buffalo before the league’s ultimate cancellation decision.
  • That move led to the modified AFC structure for playoff seeding, affecting the Bills’ and Bengals’ abilities to clinch the top spot in the conference. When speaking about the owners resolution passed on Friday, commissioner Roger Goodell described it as “a focused approach that would only affect four teams” (Twitter link via NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero). One of main consequences of the realignment was the ability the Chiefs had to clinch the No. 1 seed with a win on Saturday (which they did) and the decision to move any potential Chiefs-Bills AFC title game to a neutral site – a scenario which is in play given Buffalo’s win today.
  • Another, of course, was the amendment stating that home field for a Bengals-Ravens Wild Card matchup would have been decided by a coin flip had the Ravens won today (which they did not). Pelissero’s colleague Mike Garafolo tweets that proposals were in place to split the aforementioned amendments being voted on, but they did not pass. A coin flip being used to determine the top seed was not discussed, he adds (Twitter link). Throughout the process, the Chiefs abstained from voting given the direct effects the rule changes had on their path to the top spot in the AFC, per ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler (on Twitter).
  • The NFL also considered the possibility of the Ravens and Bengals playing their Wild Card matchup (which was a distinct possibility at the time, and has since been confirmed through today’s results) at a neutral site (Twitter link via Pelissero). Challenges with ticket sales and other logistics prevented that idea from gaining traction, however. Cincinnati and Baltimore will play each other for the third time this year – and second in as many weeks – during the first round of the postseason, with the Bengals playing host due to their superior record.
  • Competition committee chair Rich McKay said, when asked about the league’s decision not to simply base playoff implications on win percentage, “We don’t capture everything in every rule. When you face situations, you have to try to make adjustments. [This situation was] not that different from some of the COVID-related issues” (Twitter link via Pelissero and Garafolo’s colleague Ian Rapoport). No games were cancelled due to the pandemic, but the NFL has likewise arrived at a response to the unique situation presented by last Monday’s contest not being completed. Now, all affected teams will move forward with their eyes on a playoff run.

Latest On Bills S Damar Hamlin’s Recovery

JANUARY 5: The Bills released a statement Thursday morning indicating Hamlin has shown “remarkable improvement” over the past day. The team said (via Twitter) Hamlin’s lungs continue to heal, and members of his family informed’s Cameron Wolfe that the young defender is neurologically intact (video link). While the Bills statement said Hamlin remains “critically ill,” Ian Rapoport of reports he opened his eyes Wednesday night (Twitter links).

Doctors believe Hamlin is ahead of schedule in his recovery, according to Dianna Russini of (on Twitter). Damar’s father, Mario Hamlin, addressed the team Wednesday and informed the players of the progress his son has made, Adam Schefter of tweets.

JANUARY 4: Damar Hamlin remains under sedation in the intensive care unit at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, but updates continue to emerge. Hamlin’s recovery effort is “moving in a positive direction,” according to his marketing representative (via’s Cameron Wolfe, video link). Hamlin remains in critical condition; the Bills recently announced (via Twitter) he has shown signs of improvement.

Hamlin is on a ventilator, and reports indicated he had progressed from needing 100% of the ventilator’s oxygen to requiring around 50% by Tuesday night. Hamlin’s agent also said his client’s oxygen levels have improved, Jeremy Fowler of adds. Wednesday morning, doctors have seen the “promising readings” they had hoped for by this point, Coley Harvey of reports (on Twitter).

Medical personnel performed CPR on Hamlin for multiple minutes. Although Hamlin’s uncle indicated resuscitation was twice required following his nephew’s cardiac arrest, the family said Wednesday (via Harvey, on Twitter) the 24-year-old defensive back only needed to be resuscitated once. That instance occurred on the field at Paycor Stadium.

Hamlin’s first-quarter tackle on Tee Higgins, which led to the cardiac arrest and an ambulance transporting the second-year safety to the hospital, initially preceded a short stretch in which it looked like the Bills-Bengals game would resume. The NFL has pushed back on the reported five-minute warmup period initially announced by ESPN, but Albert Breer of notes (via Twitter) multiple Bengals coaches heard “five minutes” — a usual timeframe following a major injury — regarding a return to play.

The ensuing on-field meeting between Sean McDermott and Zac Taylor led to the players returning to the locker room, Breer adds. Taylor said Wednesday that McDermott told him, “I need to be at the hospital with Damar and I shouldn’t be coaching this game.” The two teams re-emerged from their respective locker rooms in street clothes, shifting their full focuses toward Hamlin.

The NFL has not announced a resumption date for the Week 17 matchup. Bills players traveled back to Buffalo on Tuesday morning. The team remains scheduled to host the Patriots on Sunday. Rather than going through a typical Wednesday practice ahead of a Sunday game, the Bills announced they will hold a walkthrough.

The NFL’s Longest-Tenured Head Coaches

The NFL experienced a busy offseason on the coaching front. A whopping 10 teams changed coaches during the 2022 offseason, with the Buccaneers’ late-March switch pushing the number into double digits.

Fourteen of the league’s 32 head coaches were hired in the past two offseasons, illustrating the increased pressure the NFL’s sideline leaders face in today’s game. Two of the coaches replaced this year left on their own. Sean Payton vacated his spot in second on the longest-tenured HCs list by stepping down from his 16-year Saints post in February, while Bruce Arians has repeatedly insisted his Bucs exit was about giving his defensive coordinator a chance with a strong roster and not a Tom Brady post-retirement power play.

While Bill Belichick has been the league’s longest-tenured HC for many years, Payton’s exit moved Mike Tomlin up to No. 2. Mike Zimmer‘s firing after nine seasons moved Frank Reich into the top 10. Reich’s HC opportunity only came about because Josh McDaniels spurned the Colts in 2018, but Indianapolis’ backup plan has led the team to two playoff brackets and has signed an extension. Reich’s seat is hotter in 2022, however, after a January collapse. Linked to numerous HC jobs over the past several offseasons, McDaniels finally took another swing after his Broncos tenure ended quickly.

As 2022’s training camps approach, here are the NFL’s longest-tenured HCs:

  1. Bill Belichick (New England Patriots): January 27, 2000
  2. Mike Tomlin (Pittsburgh Steelers): January 27, 2007; extended through 2024
  3. John Harbaugh (Baltimore Ravens): January 19, 2008; extended through 2025
  4. Pete Carroll (Seattle Seahawks): January 9, 2010; extended through 2025
  5. Andy Reid (Kansas City Chiefs): January 4, 2013; extended through 2025
  6. Sean McDermott (Buffalo Bills): January 11, 2017; extended through 2025
  7. Sean McVay (Los Angeles Rams): January 12, 2017; extended through 2023
  8. Kyle Shanahan (San Francisco 49ers): February 6, 2017; extended through 2025
  9. Mike Vrabel (Tennessee Titans): January 20, 2018; signed extension in February 2022
  10. Frank Reich (Indianapolis Colts): February 11, 2018; extended through 2026
  11. Kliff Kingsbury (Arizona Cardinals): January 8, 2019; extended through 2027
  12. Matt LaFleur (Green Bay Packers): January 8, 2019
  13. Zac Taylor (Cincinnati Bengals): February 4, 2019; extended through 2026
  14. Ron Rivera (Washington Football Team): January 1, 2020
  15. Matt Rhule (Carolina Panthers): January 7, 2020
  16. Mike McCarthy (Dallas Cowboys): January 7, 2020
  17. Kevin Stefanski (Cleveland Browns): January 13, 2020
  18. Robert Saleh (New York Jets): January 15, 2021
  19. Arthur Smith (Atlanta Falcons): January 15, 2021
  20. Brandon Staley (Los Angeles Chargers): January 17, 2021
  21. Dan Campbell (Detroit Lions): January 20, 2021
  22. Nick Sirianni (Philadelphia Eagles): January 21, 2021
  23. Nathaniel Hackett (Denver Broncos): January 27, 2022
  24. Matt Eberflus (Chicago Bears): January 27, 2022
  25. Brian Daboll (New York Giants): January 28, 2022
  26. Josh McDaniels (Las Vegas Raiders): January 30, 2022
  27. Kevin O’Connell (Minnesota Vikings): February 2, 2022
  28. Doug Pederson (Jacksonville Jaguars): February 3, 2022
  29. Mike McDaniel (Miami Dolphins): February 6, 2022
  30. Dennis Allen (New Orleans Saints): February 7, 2022
  31. Lovie Smith (Houston Texans): February 7, 2022
  32. Todd Bowles (Tampa Bay Buccaneers): March 30, 2022

Bills To Place WR Gabriel Davis, OL Cody Ford On Reserve/COVID-19 List

Already down Cole Beasley due to his placement on the reserve/COVID-19 list, the Bills will be without one of their other receiving weapons against the Patriots. Gabriel Davis is going on the virus list, Sean McDermott said (via’s Alaina Getzenberg, on Twitter).

Offensive lineman Cody Ford will join Davis on the COVID list. Ford has bounced in and out of Buffalo’s starting lineup this season; Davis has become a key target for Josh Allen. Davis is unvaccinated, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter). He will miss Week 16, and his Week 17 status is up in the air due to the 10-day quarantine period for unvaccinated players.

A 2020 fourth-round pick, Davis stepped into a more prominent role last week due to Emmanuel Sanders‘ injury absence. Davis has four touchdown receptions over the past three games, including two during a five-catch, 85-yard game against the Panthers in Week 15. The Central Florida alum has 13 touchdown grabs in two seasons.

While Beasley and Davis are set to be out of the picture in the Bills’ pivotal Patriots rematch, Sanders is looking likely to return after missing Week 15. The 12th-year veteran, who is battling a knee injury, practiced fully Thursday. His presence will be crucial, given the Bills’ sudden receiver availability issues.

Ford, selected in Round 2 in 2019, has started seven games for the Bills this season. Seeing time at tackle and guard, Ford has struggled, with Pro Football Focus rating the Oklahoma product as its fourth-worst guard this season. The Bills were already shorthanded up front last week, with left tackle Dion Dawkins and left guard Jon Feliciano going on the virus list. This pushed Ford back into the starting lineup. Both Dawkins and Feliciano remain on the list. Dawkins dealt with complications from his previous COVID bout this summer, while Feliciano said this week (via WIVB) he was also hospitalized due to the virus.

The Bills activated tackle Bobby Hart from their practice squad reserve/COVID list Friday but could certainly benefit from news of Dawkins or Feliciano being cleared.

Bills’ HC “Concerned” About Vaccine Timing

The Bills are back on the field in Orchard Park for voluntary workouts and head coach Sean McDermott says things are about “60% normal” in Orchard Park. With that said, McDermott is still hoping to see more of his players get vaccinated in a timely fashion. 

I’m concerned about it, being very up front,” McDermott said (via the Democrat and Chronicle). “It’s something we’ve talked about and I don’t think the right word is trying to convince (people to get the shot); I think the right word is to educate and build awareness and then let people decide. It’s kind of two-pronged, if you will, with health and safety and then what you’ve got to do to do your job. I think those are the two prongs of the fork right now that must be considered and considered seriously.”

Recently, quarterback Josh Allen indicated that he was still gathering information with regards to the vaccine and weighing his options. Meanwhile, McDermott has to tread lightly on the subject after his GM caused a recent stir.

Yeah, I would [cut players who refuse the vaccine], because [getting vaccinated] would be an advantage,” Brandon Beane said earlier this month. “I think there’s going to be some incentives if you have X -percent of your players and staff vaccinated. You can live normal…let’s just call it, back to the old days. If you don’t, it’s going to look more like last year…I hope that, if those are the rules, we’ll be able to get enough people vaccinated and not have to deal with all the headaches from a year ago.

Soon after, the NFL reached out to Beane to let him know that players cannot be released solely for declining the vaccine. NFLPA chief DeMaurice Smith also bashed the Bills GM for his remarks. So, while the NFL is incentivizing players with relaxed protocols, the choice ultimately lies with the players.