Falcons cancel practice after staffer tests positive

ATLANTA (AP) — The Atlanta Falcons canceled practice and worked virtually Friday after a member of the football staff tested positive for COVID-19.

The Falcons said the move was “out of an abundance of caution” while contact tracing is used to determine if anyone else might have been exposed.

The team expects to play Sunday’s game against the Denver Broncos.

“The whole reason we’re doing it is to get guys to the game,” coach Raheem Morris said. “We want to make sure we go through all the precautionary measures to play the game. Everybody wants to play the game. ”

The Falcons already have experience in dealing with the league’s most intensive protocols.

The team worked virtually three days before an Oct. 18 game at Minnesota. The players were able to return to the training facility in suburban Flowery Branch the next day to complete their preparations.

“We’re really familiar with this because of what we had do a couple of weeks ago,“ Morris said. ”We know what it looks like. We’re comfortable with it. And we still get a chance to go out there and perform.”

The Falcons hope to reopen their facility on Saturday to do their final walkthrough for the game.

Morris said the main drawback to missing practice Friday was not getting a chance to assess the status of receiver Calvin Ridley. He hasn’t practiced this week because of a foot injury and it’s not known if he’ll be able to play against the Broncos.

“I was really looking forward to seeing him today,” the coach said. “He’s doing everything he can to get back on the practice field. He’s doing everything he can to go play for this team and this city on Sunday.”

The Broncos have their own virus concerns.

The team canceled practice Wednesday after two more players were placed on the NFL’s COVID-19 reserve list: defensive end Shelby Harris and offensive guard Graham Glasgow.

That brought the number of coronavirus infections and possible exposures to three players, three assistant coaches, two executives and other staffers at team headquarters over the past few weeks.

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Follow Paul Newberry on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963. His work can be found at https://apnews.com/search/paulnewberry

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