Talk of wide receiver Curtis Samuel being placed on injured reserve (IR) isn't new. In fact, Washington Football Team head coach Ron Rivera was asked about it earlier this week and neglected to give the idea life.
Well, the idea is not only alive, it's live in living color as the WFT placed Samuel on IR, Friday.
Traditionally coaches give opening statements to press conferences before receiving questions. The usual topic is confidence in preparation. Stuff like that.
Friday afternoon Rivera started with news nobody wanted to hear, but had a feeling was coming before it was made official.
"I just want to give you guys a little heads up," Rivera told media in attendance. "...We're going to go ahead and put Curtis on IR short-term."
Short-term means Samuel will sit the WFT's first three games, and possibly beyond.
This rules Samuel out from making his debut against the Los Angeles Chargers this Sunday. Not that anyone really expected him to anyway.
He also won't make his debut next Thursday night against the New York Giants, or in the team's first road game of the year against the Buffalo Bills.
These decisions aren't taken lightly of course, and they often times aren't made easily.
Putting him on the shelf for three weeks is positive in that it gives the receiver a set timetable with which to focus on just healing, and not trying to push his way onto the field.
Building Blocks: Can Washington Win With Young O-Lineman Sam Cosmi?
Offensive lineman Sam Cosmi is entering his second season in the NFL. Washington's offense may have already found its next piece of the puzzle.
Face of the Franchise: NFL Draft Means New QB for Washington?
One former player, and his analytics founding partner, take an early look at the 2022 NFL Draft's First Round
Washington Not Giving Up on Former 4th-Round Draft Pick
Wide receiver Antonio Gandy-Golden is still with Washington, just not the way many expected.
Exactly what Rivera highlighted when he elaborated on the decision by saying, "We're just trying to take a little bit of pressure off him in terms of his rehab program."
"Having been put on the COVID list at one time I think set him back in terms of his opportunity to rehab and get himself ready to go for the year," Rivera continued. "We want to create this opportunity to take advantage of it and really just let him focus on getting healthy before he has to start worrying about playing."
It's a smart move and one that doesn't impact Week 1 as much as it does the next two. The offense has already been practicing and preparing without Samuel.
Moving beyond the first game, the team will now be able to prepare fully knowing they aren't getting Samuel back. This allows coaches and players to fill their roles without worrying about any of them shifting due to Samuel's sudden availability or non-availability.
Fans are certainly frustrated with the lack of progress as they've been excited to see the former Carolina Panthers weapon added to the Washington offense.
They'll just have to remain patient for the time being as coach Rivera prioritizes long-term health and contributions, over all else.
Rivera struck down the idea of Samuel missing even more action or opting for surgery.
"Don't even bring that up," Rivera said when asked about it on Friday. "...I don't want to start any rumors, any crap. Okay. So this has got nothing to do with any of that. It's just about giving a guy an opportunity to get a chance to rehab the way he needed to..."
Direct. Decisive. Just as a head coach should be.