- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 20, 2021

The Washington Football Team’s facility in Ashburn has temporarily closed after a series of coaches and staff members contracted COVID-19, a team official said. 

The team is dealing with multiple positive tests following a small get-together outside the facility. The event took place after Washington’s season, which ended earlier this month when the team lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the playoffs. 

A source familiar with the situation said coach Ron Rivera “is fine” and continues to undergo testing. Rivera, of course, has been extra cautious in trying not to catch the virus because of his on-going bout with cancer. 

“Earlier this week we became aware that members of our organization tested positive for COVID-19,” a team spokesman said in a statement. “These individuals have now quarantined. All other players and staff who remain in the area continue to follow the testing cadence and guidelines under the off-season protocols.

“Out of an abundance of caution, however, we chose to close the Inova Sports Performance Center for several days and have the staff work from home.”

From the beginning of training camp to the end of the season, Washington dealt with relatively few coronavirus cases. Just two players — defensive end Matt Ioannidis and running back Javon Leake — caught the virus, making Washington with the fewest amount of cases in the NFL.

The team did fine former quarterback Dwayne Haskins twice for violating the league’s health and safety protocols. In October, Haskins was fined for trying to book a family friend a room at the team’s hotel on a road trip. The 23-year-old was then punished again in December when he was caught partying with strippers after a loss to the Seattle Seahawks.

Last week, Rivera credited his players and coaches for adapting to the circumstances. Because of the virus, the NFL made near-constant adjustments to its protocols, such as making meetings virtual as the year went on.

“I know we had to find ways to work around situations and circumstances that put more strain on people,” Rivera said. “It was a difficult set of circumstances. Hats off to everybody that achieved it and hats off to our players for only having two guys having gone on COVID, one being an IR player and one being on practice squad as well.”

• Matthew Paras can be reached at mparas@washingtontimes.com.

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