The Los Angeles Rams announced on Tuesday night that a member of the team has tested positive for COVID-19. The player immediately entered self-quarantine while the team conducted all football activities and meetings remotely on Wednesday. The scheduled walkthrough practice did not take place.
While the Rams did not reveal the player's name on Tuesday, they did make three transactions on Wednesday. The team placed tight end Kendall Blanton, defensive back Jake Gervase and wide receiver J.J. Koski on the Reserve/COVID-19 list. The Rams last hosted the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday, winning the NFC West game 23-16. Head coach Sean McVay gave the players Monday off and then they remained away from the facility on Tuesday during a regularly-scheduled day off.
The Rams have avoided coronavirus outbreaks during the 2020 season. Rookie outside linebacker Terrell Lewis tested positive during training camp but ultimately returned to the team. The other players and coaches avoided testing positive as the season approached and through the first half of the schedule.
The Rams were not the only team to have players test positive following Sunday's slate of games. The Las Vegas Raiders placed several players on the Reserve/COVID-19 list, including safety Johnathan Abram, defensive tackle Maliek Collins, defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins, defensive lineman David Irving, cornerback Isaiah Johnson, defensive end Arden Key and defensive tackle Kendal Vickers. According to head coach Jon Gruden, "nearly the entire" starting defense went on the list due to high-risk contacts.
"I don't know about the whole defense," Gruden clarified. "I'm not going to get into what list anybody is on. We practiced today and we'll be ready for the game on Sunday. ... it's what you have to do. Everybody has to adapt to a lot of things in every phase of life. We had to go through some things before. We'll be there on Sunday and we'll be prepared."
With a rising number of positive tests around the NFL, the league issued a mandate on Wednesday. All 31 teams will have to finish out the season under intensive protocols. The goal is to reduce close contact and limit the spread of coronavirus. Additionally, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said that the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday will present new risks.
"Because we have a highly sophisticated program of daily testing, we know when the virus enters our facilities, which underscores the importance of contact tracing and other steps to minimize close contacts within a facility," Goodell said. "Recent experience has highlighted the importance of minimizing high-risk close contacts; on multiple occasions, we have seen individuals identified on that basis test positive within a short time. We have also seen many instances in which effective action by clubs to minimize these close contacts prevented the virus from spreading within the club, and avoided players or coaches being ruled out of practice or games."