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Official: 4 defensive line players activated from COVID list; Montez Sweat designated to return to practice; PS player signed

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Washington Football Team v Buffalo Bills Photo by Bryan Bennett/Getty Images


The team officially announced that four defensive line players, Jonathan Allen, James Smith-Williams, Casey Toohill, and Montez Sweat have been activated from the Reserve/COVID-19 list. In addition, Montez Sweat has been designated to return to practice after being on IR since the start of November. Sweat suffered a broken jaw in the Week 8 game against the Denver Broncos.

While this is welcome news, Washington still has a lengthy list of players (18) still on the Reserve/COVID-19 list at the moment.

The Football Team was initially scheduled to play against the Philadelphia Eagles in Philly on Sunday afternoon, but that was one of 3 games that the NFL rescheduled in hopes of creating an opportunity for teams to reactivate a number of players in time for the game.

The Raiders-Browns game was moved from Saturday to Monday, while two games — Washington-Philadelphia and Seahawks-Rams — were both moved to Tuesday night at 7pm.

The hope remains that Washington will be able to activate more players prior to the rescheduled Tuesday game, which is critical for both Washington and Philadelphia, as the two 6-7 teams battle to qualify for postseason play.

The change in schedule has not been popular with Eagles fans and sports media who feel that the change disadvantages them for Week 16 as the team will have only 4 days to prepare for their game against the Giants. While Washington will face the same issue (as well as travel to Dallas in Week 16), the Philadelphia fans and media have painted the COVID outbreak as “not their fault”, and have argued that Washington should have been forced to forfeit the game, seemingly ignoring the NFL rule that would have caused players on both teams to forgo game checks in the event of a forfeit.

The fact that Montez Sweat has been designated to return to practice does not necessarily mean that he will be available to play on Tuesday, as the team has a 3-week window to evaluate his health and readiness to play. Defensive Coordinator Jack Del Rio said he would be comfortable with Sweat returning this week even though he hasn’t played since Halloween night. He would be a boost to the defense, but Del Rio did say he wasn’t sure how many snaps he would play after missing almost 2 months.

CB D.J. Hayden has been signed to the practice squad. The 31-year-old Hayden was a first round pick of the Raiders in 2013. Hayden played two seasons under then-head coach Jack Del Rio (2015-16) before leaving in free agency. Hayden played for the Lions in 2017, and spent three seasons (2018-20) with the Jacksonville Jaguars. He was ranked among the ten-best CB in 2019 by PFF.

Washington also announced that LB Khaleke Hudson had been removed from the Reserve/COVID-19 list but placed back on IR.

There have been numerous reports that the NFL and NFLPA are working on revisions to COVID protocols that may, among other things, make it easier for players who test positive, but who are vaccinated and asymptomatic, to return to the active roster.

It is likely that more details about these and other players’ status for Tuesday and beyond will be clarified between now and Monday.

Washington Football Team players on the Reserve/COVID-19 list

Offense (8)

QB: Taylor Heinicke, Kyle Allen

OT: Cornelius Lucas

C: Tyler Larsen

WR: Cam Sims

TE: Sammis Reyes, Temarrick Hemingway(PS)

RB: Wendell Smallwood(PS)

Defense (10)

DT: Matt Ioannidis, Tim Settle

DE: Daniel Wise, William Bradley-King

CB: Kendall Fuller, Troy Apke

S: Kam Curl, Darrick Forrest

LB: David Mayo, Milo Eifler

Washington Football Team activated from the Reserve/COVID-19 list (7)

CB Darryl Roberts

C Keith Ismael

DT Jonathan Allen

DE Montez Sweat

DE James Smith-Williams

DE Casey Toohill

LB Khaleke Hudson(IR)