When asked whether he has fielded any trade offers for Haskins or if the 2019 first-round draft pick had requested a trade in the wake of his benching, Rivera deflected.
“I’m not going to talk about football business,” Rivera said.
According to two people with knowledge of the situation, Rivera is not interested in trading Haskins at this point and hopes to continue developing the quarterback with the possibility of him returning to play later this year or next.
Rivera reiterated his commitment to Haskins’s development Wednesday.
“This is an opportunity for him to continue to learn and grow and develop,” the coach said. “Again, as I said, I have not quit on the kid as far as his development.”
For Haskins, this illness is the latest twist since Rivera announced Oct. 7 he would replace him with Kyle Allen. After his benching, Haskins didn’t participate in the portions of practice open to reporters for two days. He returned to drills Friday. He stayed at the team hotel Saturday night, but on Sunday morning he told the team he felt sick. Anthony Casolaro, the team physician, examined Haskins and sent him home, according to a team official.
Haskins returned to the team facility Monday, offensive coordinator Scott Turner said. Turner spoke to Haskins and later said it was “a unique situation.” He added, “Honestly, all I know is that he’s sick.” Haskins reported to the team facility Wednesday and said he still felt sick. He was examined by Casolaro and sent home, a team spokesman said.
Rivera and Turner emphasized they expect Haskins soon will return to practice.
In initially explaining his reasoning for making the switch from Haskins to Allen, Rivera cited Haskins’s slow progress and the fact that Washington remained in contention in a struggling NFC East. He pointed out again Wednesday that, despite being 1-4, Washington trails the first-place Dallas Cowboys by one game and the second-place Philadelphia Eagles by a half-game. He has said he sees the next three games — two against the 0-5 New York Giants and one against the Cowboys — as crucial, and he felt Allen and backup Alex Smith gave the team a better chance to win because of their knowledge of Turner’s offensive system.
But during his news conference Wednesday, Rivera expanded the window in which he sees his team can compete. He described the next five games as “a pretty interesting set of circumstances,” with the additional two being at the Detroit Lions (1-3) and home against the Cincinnati Bengals (1-3-1).
As far as Haskins’s absence, Rivera emphasized it “has got nothing to do with covid[-19],” referencing the disease caused by the coronavirus. He pointed out that if anyone in the organization had symptoms, it would be required to report the situation to the NFL. Rivera said the handling of this situation has been up to Haskins and doctors.
“We’re not keeping him out of the building, just so everybody knows,” Rivera added. “What we’ve done is, again — he’s come in, he’s seen the doctors, he’s taking his test, and he’s gone home.”
Turner found out Haskins would be absent Wednesday morning just before their position meeting. He said he has felt good about his relationship with Haskins, personally and professionally, and he thought they worked well together on offense before Haskins was benched.
“Then ever since what’s happened … he was obviously upset with the decision last week,” Turner said. “Toward the end of last week, we talked a little bit. And then, as we stated, he’s been sick, so I haven’t seen him much outside of Monday.”
When Haskins returns to the facility, the team expects him to be like any other player, studying hard and practicing with the scout team.
Allen was back working with the first team Wednesday after he was knocked out of Sunday’s game by a hit from Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey. The team also welcomed Pro Bowl right guard Brandon Scherff back to practice Wednesday, and he took all of the first-team reps. Scherff missed three weeks after suffering a medial collateral ligament sprain Sept. 20 against the Arizona Cardinals. He is eligible to return from injured reserve this week, and his return to practice opened a 21-day window in which Washington must either activate him or place him on season-ending IR.
Les Carpenter contributed to this report.
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