The Los Angeles Rams canceled practice Friday and will hold meetings virtually after two members of the organization received COVID-19 test results on Thursday night that require additional testing.
According to a team spokesman, Rams coach Sean McVay canceled practice “out of an abundance of caution.”
McVay is scheduled to talk with reporters via Zoom later Friday.
The Rams (7-3) are scheduled to play the San Francisco 49ers (4-6) on Sunday at SoFi Stadium.
The Rams placed three players from their practice squad on the COVID-19/reserve list early last week after a confirmed positive test.
Atlanta Falcons WR Calvin Ridley says he feels no pressure to replace traded Julio Jones
Calvin Ridley is the Atlanta Falcons‘ No. 1 receiver now, and even though he’ll be replacing a franchise legend in traded-to-Tennessee Julio Jones, Ridley said Tuesday that he feels “no pressure” stepping into the role once held by a likely future Hall of Famer.
Part of the reason is Ridley’s confidence in his own play, something harnessed over the past three years playing alongside Jones with Atlanta. And some of it comes from playing without Jones for half of last season, when hamstring injuries sidelined the former Falcons star.
“I played with Julio, Mohamed Sanu, since Day 1, those guys, I feel like I’ve been moving toward that way of I can do it by myself,” Ridley said. “Obviously I’m not by myself, we have other players who are really good, but I feel like I’ve been ready and I just needed an opportunity to get in those positions.”
Ridley, who was drafted at No. 26 by the Falcons in the 2018 draft, blossomed last season with career highs in targets (143), receptions (90) and yards (1,374). He also had nine touchdowns, one off the 10 he had in his rookie season.
The 26-year-old showed he can handle being Atlanta’s top option. He showed he can handle double-teams — he said he’s seen them since the 2019 season — as he started to display his abilities as one of the top receivers in the NFL.
He did it last season playing at least partially hurt. Ridley had “minor” foot surgery this offseason stemming from an injury he suffered during the 2020 season. He’s been at the team’s facility rehabbing, working out and going through walkthroughs — essentially everything except practicing — and said he believes “I’m pretty sure I’ll be ready” for the start of Atlanta’s training camp in July.
When he does return to the field, he’ll bring with him lessons learned from playing with Jones. Every week they played together, Ridley tried to outdo Jones. He used it as motivation and a way to improve just by looking within his own position group.
With Jones gone, Ridley is looking for someone else to give him that kind of motivation — he suggested, maybe joking, maybe not, he might use quarterback Matt Ryan as that — and knows he might provide similar motivation to Atlanta’s other receivers as well.
But for him, it’s about confidence. It’s why Ridley is able to play the way he does. He believes in his game, in his skill and in his ability to beat defenders. Perhaps not coincidentally, it’s also something he received from Jones.
“Just the confidence [Jones] has every week and being the No. 1 receiver and going out to work every day, I feel like you have to believe in yourself,” Ridley said. “And by my second year, that’s when I realized that’s what he’s all about, confidence.
“So when I realized that, I just started to think that, I didn’t think that I’m better than him, but I just believed in myself and I really think that made me a better player. I really believe in myself.”
One question will be how Ridley is used in first-year head coach Arthur Smith’s offense. Ridley said he’s still figuring that out — the Falcons haven’t put on pads yet — but he likes what he has seen thus far from Smith and what could happen with the offense.
Smith said that once Ridley starts to practice, he’ll have a better idea of where he’ll use the receiver in the offense but that he’s been pleased with how Ridley has picked things up so far — even though he hasn’t been able to actually practice.
The Falcons liked Ridley enough to pick up his fifth-year option for 2022 in May, a sign of how integral they might view him over at least the next two seasons.
“He had a really productive year. Calvin has been a really good player here so far,” Smith said. “Best days are hopefully ahead of him. I’ve been impressed with Calvin, both the person and the player. I’m excited to get to work with him.”
Cleveland Browns RB Nick Chubb says he wants to stay with team when contract ends
“It would mean a lot,” said Chubb, who said that his agent and the team have already discussed a potential extension this offseason. “Cleveland drafted me and trusted me and put their faith in me to help build this culture and this team I’m a part of. Cleveland is where I want to be. Hopefully everything can work out in that direction.”
Chubb, a second-round pick in 2018, has been the backbone of the Browns offense the last two seasons, averaging 5.25 yards per carry during that span.
In 2019, he came within 47 yards of besting Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry for the rushing title. Last season, Chubb missed four games due to a knee injury, but still finished seventh in the league with 1,070 yards on the ground, as Cleveland made the playoffs for the first time since 2002.
Chubb has been especially efficient late in games. Last season, he led the NFL with an average of more than 10 yards per carry in the fourth quarter.
Chubb said that his supporting cast, which includes one of the top offensive lines in the league, as well as coach Kevin Stefanski’s run-heavy offense are among the reasons why he prefers to stay in Cleveland.
“I don’t like uncertainty,” Chubb said. “I know here in Cleveland what I have, the players and coaches and the city of Cleveland. Cleveland is where I want to be. That’s my main focus.”
Last summer, the Browns extended Chubb’s backfield sidekick Kareem Hunt to a two-year extension worth $13.25 million, keeping Hunt under contract in Cleveland through the 2022 season.
The Browns, who are holding their mandatory minicamp this week, have two other key players they drafted in 2018 who are extension eligible this summer in quarterback Baker Mayfield and cornerback Denzel Ward. Cleveland has already picked up the fifth-year options on Mayfield and Ward, which will keep them under contract at least through the 2022 season.
Ward, a Pro Bowl performer in 2018, said Tuesday that his agent and the Browns have begun talking about an extension, as well.
“In a perfect world,” Ward said, “I’d definitely want to be a Brown for the rest of my career.”
Seattle Seahawks safety Jamal Adams to sit out mandatory minicamp, sources say
Adams, who is scheduled to play on the fifth-year option in his rookie contract worth $9.86 million this season, is seeking a new contract.
The Seahawks were bracing for Adams’ potential absence and the team was aware of a potential family/personal issue that could be a factor, sources told ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler. Adams, 25, was not in the building Monday as Seattle players got their physicals.
The Seahawks acquired Adams from the New York Jets before last season, sending a package that included two first-round draft picks to New York, which had selected the safety No. 6 overall in the 2017 draft.
At the time of the trade, Adams’ goal was to become the NFL’s highest-paid safety, sources had told ESPN. The Denver Broncos‘ Justin Simmons is currently the NFL’s highest-paid safety with a contract that averages $15.25 million per season.
After dealing for Adams, Seattle said it planned to wait until this offseason to attempt to sign him to an extension.
Adams’ 9.5 sacks in 12 regular-season games last season was the most by a defensive back since sacks became an official statistic in 1982, and his 30 pressures was 14 more than any other DB, per ESPN Stats & Information research. Adams missed four games earlier in the 2020 season with a groin injury. He led the Seahawks with 14 tackles for loss and did not have an interception, keeping his career total at two over four seasons.
ESPN’s Brady Henderson contributed to this report.
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