Patriots tight end Devin Asiasi to miss training camp start after positive COVID test

Asiasi, who is vaccinated, can return to the Patriots soon after his symptoms subside according to the new NFL vaccination rules.

Devin Asiasi Patriots
Devin Asiasi. Steven Senne/AP

The Patriots will get their first brush with the NFL’s new COVID-19 policy just as training camp begins.

The Globe’s Jim McBride reported Tuesday that second-year tight end Devin Asiasi has tested positive for COVID-19 within the last week and will be away from the team indefinitely.

McBride confirmed through a league source that Asiasi is vaccinated and experienced mild symptoms after testing positive. He will work remotely in the meantime.

Because Asiasi is vaccinated, he could return to action once his symptoms have subsided as long as he can produce two negative COVID tests within a 24-hour period. League regulations state that unvaccinated players must quarantine for at least 10 days even if they are asymptomatic.


The positive test comes days after the NFL’s sweeping new mandates on COVID-19 vaccination heading into the 2021 season. Several of the guidelines aim to discourage opposition to the vaccine by punishing organizations as well as individual players.

Teams that suffer COVID outbreaks among unvaccinated players may have to forfeit games if the contests can’t be reasonably re-scheduled during the normal 18-game season. The NFL says it does not expect to add an additional Week 19 to account for possible make-up games.

Furthermore, unvaccinated players will be subject to fines of more than $14,000 should they break COVID-19 protocols.


Head coach Bill Belichick said Tuesday morning that he believes “most” Patriots players are vaccinated, though few have said so publicly.

One player who has shared that he is vaccinated, edge rusher Matthew Judon, still took umbrage with the player’s union for ratifying the harsh punishments that also threaten players’ game checks if games are canceled due to COVID outbreaks.

Matthew Slater, the Patriots’ longtime NFLPA representative, spoke Tuesday about the need for players to feel protected and well-represented while also noting the shifting reality of the pandemic that jeopardized NFL games last season.

“We’re playing in a unique time right now where I think there are often times more questions than answers, so it is a balancing act,” he said. “And any time you implement any type of protocols in any setting not everyone’s gonna be happy with the protocols.”


The Patriots’ current NFLPA representative, Joe Cardona, offered a similar perspective last weekend after the NFL’s vaccination guidelines were released.

“Ensuring every single player in the league is afforded the opportunity to earn every paycheck for which they are eligible is extremely important,” he told Pro Football Focus reporter Doug Kyed. “As athletes, our time horizon for earning income is already volatile enough with factors we can control, let alone this new policy.

“That being said, any member of an NFL locker room has a duty to keep teammates, coaches, support staff and fans safe and healthy. That responsibility should be an impactful incentive all on its own to encourage everyone to get vaccinated, irregardless of financial consequences.”

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