Rams cancel practice after a player and staff member need more coronavirus testing

The Los Angeles Rams logo on the field at SoFi Stadium.
The Rams canceled practice Friday after two members of the organization received coronavirus test results that required additional testing.
(Sean M. Haffey / Associated Press)

Coming off a Monday night victory in Tampa, Fla., Rams coach Sean McVay planned for an abbreviated week of preparation for Sunday’s game against the San Francisco 49ers at SoFi Stadium.

A late-week day off from the practice field was not part of the original schedule.

But the Rams got one Friday as McVay and his team navigated their way through a COVID-19-related situation.


McVay said Friday afternoon that he was made aware late Thursday night that a player and a staff member — not a coach — had tested positive. Both were re-tested twice, on Thursday and Friday morning, and all tests were negative, McVay said.

Still, the Rams announced Friday morning that practice had been canceled “out of an abundance of caution” and that all meetings would be conducted virtually. McVay said that windy conditions — “It’s like a tornado, like a wind tunnel out there at our facilities” — and the opportunity to give players added time off their feet also contributed to his decision, the latest change of plan in a season like no other because of the pandemic.

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“You realize how quickly it can catch up with you, especially when you start to look at what possibly could have occurred as a result of close-contact tracing — all those things had those results been positive,” McVay said during a videoconference with reporters . “Fortunately, we didn’t have to suffer the consequences. But it was a good way of kind of resetting your focus and understanding how crazy this thing all is.”

The day off from the practice will not adversely affect the Rams on Sunday against the 49ers, cornerback Jalen Ramsey said.

“Things happen, you’ve got to be able to adapt to it,” Ramsey said during a videoconference with reporters. “Safety’s first, so that’s what matters.”

Rams coach Sean McVay looks on from the sideline during Monday's win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
(Jason Behnken / Associated Press)

It was the second time in as many weeks that COVID-19 impacted the Rams.

On Nov. 18, the Rams placed three players — defensive back Jake Gervase, tight end Kendall Blanton and receiver J.J. Koski on the reserve/ COVID-19 list. Blanton and Koski have since returned to practice, a team official said. None of the players have been active for a game this season.

The Rams dealt with COVID-19 issues before the season. Offensive linemen Brian Allen and Andrew Whitworth tested positive during the spring and summer, respectively. Rookie outside linebacker Terrell Lewis’ ability to participate in team activities was delayed after he tested positive in August.

The 49ers are in the midst of dealing with far more COVID-19 issues.

Receiver Brandon Aiyuk and offensive lineman Trent Williams are among six players on the reserve/COVID-19 list. Defensive linemen Arik Armstead and Javon Kinlaw and offensive lineman Hroniss Grasu came off the list this week.

Rams linebacker Troy Reeder will start Sunday in place of Micah Kiser, who was put on injured reserve after suffering a knee injury at Tampa Bay.

Three players — tight end Jordan Reed and linebackers Dre Greenlaw and Azeez Al-Shaair — did not practice Thursday or Friday because of unspecified illnesses, and they are listed as questionable, according to the 49ers injury report.

Unlike the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens, who had Thursday’s game postponed until Tuesday, the Rams’ game schedule has not been affected.

“My understanding is that we’re kicking off,” McVay said. “We’re playing at SoFi at 1:00 and that’s our plan.”

McVay said the Rams would conduct a longer walk-through Saturday, much like they did in November 2018 when a Friday practice was canceled to enable players, coaches and staff to deal with evacuations caused by fires in Ventura and Los Angeles counties. The Rams practiced at USC and, a day later, defeated the Seattle Seahawks.


Tight end Tyler Higbee (elbow) will be a game-time decision, McVay said. Gerald Everett and Johnny Mundt will share snaps if Higbee does not play. Lewis (knee) is doubtful. “I’d be very surprised if he’s available and ready to go,” McVay said…. Tom Compton, a starting guard for the 49ers, is out because of a concussion.