Rams center Brian Allen tested positive for the coronavirus, making him the first NFL reported infected during the pandemic, the team said Wednesday.
Confirming a report by Jay Glazer of Fox Sports, a Rams spokesman said that after Allen’s illness was confirmed, the team closed its facility in Thousand Oaks where Allen was rehabilitating his injured left knee.
The spokesman said the facility has since reopened for other rehabbing players, and nobody else there has shown Covid-19 symptoms at this point.
Allen, 24, was reported to be doing well three weeks after he first showed symptoms.
A fourth-round pick in the 2018 draft out of Michigan State, Allen became the Rams’ starting center at the beginning of 2019 but was injured in the ninth game of the season. He is expected to compete for the job with Austin Blythe, who replaced Allen at center. Blythe could return to his job at right guard.
Neither coach Sean McVay nor general manager Les Snead mentioned Allen — or any Rams employee by name — when they were asked in video-stream press conferences March 6 if the virus had directly affected people in the organization.
McVay said then that “there’s been a couple guys that we’ve had some conversations with,” but “everybody is in a good spot.”
Allen’s case became known because he confirmed it to Glazer. Glazer said Allen told him that his illness began three weeks ago when he woke up without the sense of smell, and later included cold-like symptoms, but “everything felt different than every other flu I’ve had.”
Like other NFL teams, the Rams started in March to take measures to protect employees from the coronavirus, including pulling scouts off the road in the weeks before the Aprll 23-25 NFL draft, and having staff members work from home, except for those involved in injury rehab.