ATLANTA — After one new positive COVID-19 test, the Atlanta Falcons, who have had nine players placed on the NFL’s reserve/COVID-19 list, shut down their facility Thursday.
The Falcons also were the first team to have a player on the list during the 2020 season before there were outbreaks in Tennessee and New England.
“Out of an abundance of caution following one new positive test, we have made the decision to stop all in-person work at IBM Performance Field Thursday and will conduct all operations virtually,” the team said in a statement. “This decision was made in consultation with the NFL and medical officials. The health and safety of our team is our highest priority.”
The Falcons expect to return to the building Friday and expect to play their game against the Minnesota Vikings at 1 p.m. Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium. The one individual who tested positive was an assistant coach, but not a coordinator, according to someone familiar with the situation.
The Falcons, who are scheduled to travel to Minneapolis on Saturday, are off to a 0-5 start and fired general manager Thomas Dimitroff and coach Dan Quinn on Sunday. Raheem Morris was introduced as the interim head coach Tuesday.
“Right now, in this new COVID-19 world, there’s a lot of things that come up in that world every single day,” Morris said. “You just have to deal with that all the time.”
The league and the Falcons are hoping to avoid an outbreak such as the Tennessee Titans had, which caused them not to play a game for 17 days. The original report by ESPN cited “multiple” positive tests led to the Falcons’ shutdown.
The Falcons are not permitted to comment on a player’s medical status other than to refer to roster status. Clubs may not disclose whether a player is in quarantine or tested positive for COVID-19.