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The Washington Football Team added eight more players to the reserve/COVID-19 list on Wednesday, bringing the team’s total to 18.
Per ESPN’s John Keim, nine of those 18 players were possible starters for Sunday’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles. Keim noted that Washington head coach Ron Rivera said he has not heard of plans to cancel the game.
Washington is already very short-handed with 13 players on injured reserve (two players are on both lists). Sunday’s game against Philadelphia is crucial to Washington’s playoff chances as both teams are 6-7. Washington currently holds the seventh and final playoff spot in the NFC with four games left in the season.
“We’re in meetings and one of the guys told me someone else had it, it’s like, ‘Here’s another one; there’s another one,'” offensive lineman Brandon Scherff said. “Like coach Rivera said, ‘Next man up.’ It’s a big opportunity for them to show everyone what they’ve got.”
Keim noted that defensive ends James Smith-Williams and Casey Toohill and defensive tackles Jonathan Allen and Tim Settle could come off the list later this week. Each of them would need to test negative twice in a 48-hour span to be eligible to return.
Rivera, who battled cancer last year and said in August that he was immunocompromised, said he was not concerned despite the rise in COVID-19 cases. He said he has already received his booster shot and wears a mask when he’s around other people.
“Nobody expected this [Omicron] variant,” Rivera said. “Because it’s spreading so quickly around the league right now, that almost feels like a matter of time. I don’t think anybody expected it to be like this.”
Washington has been focused on getting inexperienced players prepared this week in the event that they’re thrust into playing significant time against the Eagles.
“You take every able body you have and they all get opportunities to practice, get opportunities in meetings and walk-throughs to make sure they’re brought up to speed,” Rivera said.