No. 1 Alabama implements safety protocols ahead of College Football Playoff game vs. No. 4 Cincinnati


With COVID-19 cases surging nationally and games in the NFL being impacted by the pandemic again, Alabama is returning to its safety protocols from a year ago as it prepares to take part in the College Football Playoff.

Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban said Monday that the team is back to wearing masks in the facility and social distancing during meetings. He noted that more than 90% of players are vaccinated and have received their booster shots.

“Am I concerned?” Saban said. “I’m always concerned when there’s an issue out there, and we want to do the best we can to help our players be concerned about the issue and respect it so they have the best opportunity to stay safe.”

The players practiced on Monday and will get a few days off to spend time with their families before they return and travel to Texas on Dec. 26.

No. 1 Alabama will play No. 4 Cincinnati in the CFP semifinal at the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic on New Year’s Eve (3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN and ESPN App).

Saban said he and his staff are doing their best to educate players on the risks of the virus, and sending them home with a “care package with everything they need to stay safe.”

“They’re really bought in to do everything they can to stay safe,” Saban said of the players. “There’s no guarantee, so we want to use every protocol we can to help them stay safe.”

Last week, the NFL postponed three games due to a rise in COVID-19 cases, while the NBA on Sunday postponed five games.

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