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  All-SEC contender Chris Rodriguez had one more task to checkoff before Kentucky football opens preseason practice Friday. Get a COVID-19 vaccine. "Getting the vaccine feels like I'm signing my life away, but aye #ForTheTeam," Rodriguez tweeted Tuesday afternoon. The Wildcats star running back quickly followed that tweet with a second making sure fans understood his decision. "I was not forced to get it," Rodriguez wrote. "I got it because I wanted to. I missed two of the biggest games last year. I say #ForTheTeam because if I miss a game, I'm letting them down."

How many of Rodriguez's teammates decide to follow his lead could turn out to be a key factor in Kentucky's chances of a special season. At SEC Media Days last month, SEC commissioner Greg Sankey revealed 6 of 14 football teams had reached the 80% threshold of vaccinated players. Kentucky coach Mark Stoops later confirmed his team was not one of the squads to hit that number. With the Delta variant causing COVID-19 cases to spike again, especially in the SEC's regional footprint where vaccination percentages remain low, player availability during the pandemic will likely be a storyline to watch for the second consecutive season even as college football stadiums return to full capacity. - Courier Journal

rSr/2023 RB Chris Rodriguez Jr.Kentucky
News Source: Courier Journal

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