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Chargers are among NFL’s least vaccinated teams, but Justin Herbert got his

Justin Herbert throws a pass during practice in Costa Mesa.
Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert says he has been vaccinated against COVID-19.
(Kyusung Gong / Associated Press)

Quarterback Justin Herbert said Wednesday that he’d been vaccinated.

Over the next several weeks, the Chargers would love to have more teammates join him.

The Chargers are among the NFL’s least-vaccinated teams, said a source familiar with the information but not authorized to speak about it publicly. The situation could affect preparations for the 2021 season.

The NFL and its players association have agreed on updated coronavirus protocols that mandate stricter guidelines for unvaccinated players when training camps open next month. The Chargers are expected to report July 27.

Among the restrictions — which will be waived for vaccinated individuals — are more testing, the continued wearing of masks and quarantine periods.

Herbert characterized the number of players on the team who were vaccinated as “a small group of guys.”

Now retired, Drew Brees visited the Chargers camp as part of an NBC Sports crew and said he loves what he sees in quarterback Justin Herbert.

“I thought, ‘If it’s available … and [would] help me in the long run,’ I think it’s better for everyone,” he said. “But it’s up to everyone. It’s their opinion. I think it’s a tough situation, regardless.”

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Teams that have fewer vaccinated players will be forced to adhere to guidelines regarding meetings and practice. Travel also will be less convenient.

Coach Brandon Staley indicated he was not worried about his team’s low vaccination rate turning into a competitive disadvantage.

“I do not have any concern whatsoever,” he said. “I know we’re going to figure it out one way or the other because that’s just the hallmark of how we’re going to operate.”

The Chargers have been revamping their offensive line, and signing center Corey Linsley is a key to finally building a fortress in front of their quarterback.

Staley also suggested the Chargers’ vaccination outlook could change in the coming weeks.

“These things have a way of working themselves out the closer you get to competition,” he said. “I know that our players are fully aware of what’s at stake.”

He added he was not concerned about the issue potentially dividing the locker room, noting the ongoing dialogue he said the franchise had maintained.

“This isn’t the first time we’ve talked about something challenging together,” Staley said. “I think we’ve been open, honest about the entire topic.”


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