In this April 29, 2021, file photo, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, wearing a COVID-19 vaccinated sticker, speaks during the first round of the NFL football draft in Cleveland. Credit: Steve Luciano / AP

The number of NFL players in the COVID-19 vaccination process has reached 80 percent, with nine teams having 90 percent or more of their players in that category.

Dr. Allen Sills, the league’s medical director, said Friday that nearly all Tier 1 and Tier 2 team employees — those who deal directly with players — have been vaccinated. Five teams are at less than 70 percent of players who have either received one vaccination shot or both. He is optimistic the number of vaccinated players will continue to rise as training camps open.

“I think we are off to an excellent start,” Sills said. “Those numbers are much higher than what we’re seeing in society as a whole. There has been a lot of movement in that area. As you see players coming to training camp, you will see more players beginning that process (of vaccination).”

Sills cited teams having strong advocates for vaccination among players and coaches, as well as the educational materials available.

“I think that has influenced a lot of players,” he said.

“What matters is that individuals have the most accurate information. Let’s not get information from Instagram or Facebook posts. Let’s try to hear from the most reputable professionals. You don’t shout anyone into belief here — there have to be thoughtful conversations. What we can do is provide the facts and make sure the entirety of the medical facts are presented.”

Story by Barry Wilner, AP Pro Football Writer