Is Haskins a distraction? Rivera doesn’t think so at all originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
It’s very rare — very, very rare — that a third-string quarterback gets asked about as much, if not more than, the starter. But in Washington, the very, very rare often becomes reality, and that’s precisely what’s happening right now.
For the second consecutive day, Dwayne Haskins didn’t practice for the Washington Football Team. The sickness that Haskins first came down with over the weekend is still affecting him, and pretty much the only thing he’s done at the facility this week is come in a couple of times, take a few COVID-19 tests, speak with doctors and leave.
The confusion about Haskins’ health is also mixing in with some reported trade rumors surrounding the 2019 first-rounder as well as his recent demotion from the top of the depth chart to essentially the bottom. In short, he’s at the center of a lot of non-football things.
So, during his Thursday availability, Ron Rivera was directly asked if all the attention on Haskins is a distraction. He was adamant it’s not.
“Honestly, the only time I have to handle it is when you guys ask about it,” Rivera said. “That’s the truth.”
According to the coach, he simply gets reports about Haskins and goes from there.
“The young man’s feeling ill and we’ve got to respect that and make sure that he’s getting the proper care and he’ll be back when he’s feeling better and healthier,” he said.
Rivera has done a solid job in recent pressers addressing what’s going on with the 23-year-old, yet on Thursday, he did get pretty testy near the end of the Zoom when pressed to clarify a few things. It can’t be easy to be in his spot, though.
Rivera’s desperate to keep his team’s focus on what he’s labeled a seriously important stretch of games. However, each time he steps up to deal with reporters, he receives multiple inquiries about a guy who isn’t even dressing for games at this point.
Still, while his tone may have suggested otherwise on Thursday, he maintained that the Haskins drama isn’t getting to him or the rest of his roster at all.
“The only time it becomes a distraction is when you guys are talking about it,” he said.