Dolphins Football

Miami Dolphins offensive tackle Austin Jackson talks with the media after NFL football practice, Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2021, in Miami Gardens, Fla. The Dolphins host the Buffalo Bills on Sunday. (David Santiago/Miami Herald via AP)

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) — Miami Dolphins left tackle Austin Jackson believes people are entitled to make their own decisions about whether to get vaccinated against the coronavirus.

That said, he's thankful he got his shots.

Jackson was back at practice Wednesday with the Dolphins — winded, sweaty and a bit tired when it was over, but otherwise declaring himself healthy and strong. He spent last week completing a series of protocols after testing positive for COVID-19, then was able to get enough negative tests back in time to return to the team for its opener at New England this past weekend.

"I think that the vaccine definitely helped," Jackson said.

Jackson was listed as the Dolphins' starting left tackle on the team's depth chart before his stint on the COVID list, and Dolphins coach Brian Flores said he will be back in that spot this week when Miami plays at home against Buffalo.

"That's good. It feels good," Jackson said. "Throughout training camp and all the work we've put in and all the work I've put in, it's good to hear."

Jackson did not wish to divulge specifics about what the process of completing protocols was like.

"I've had family members be heavily affected by COVID," Jackson said. "Everybody's different. I think people have the right to hold their own opinions on the vaccine. If you don't want to get it, that's fine. But for me, I know it helped me."

The NFL has said more than 93% of players are vaccinated against the coronavirus. The Dolphins had two players on the COVID reserve list last week; Jackson was able to get into the game against New England for three plays, while tight end Adam Shaheen missed the game and spent more than a week away from the team.

Shaheen, who was removed from the COVID list Wednesday, is unvaccinated.

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