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Nick Sirianni tests positive for COVID, discusses Eagles’ potential replacement plan

The head coach doesn’t expect the team to have an outbreak, but they do have plans in place should that happen.

Eagles’ head coach Nick Sirianni spoke to reporters on Wednesday following the team’s win over Washington, but it wasn’t all good news and celebrations. The team announced just minutes before his media call that Sirianni had tested positive for Covid-19 and had symptoms that would keep him remote for the week. The head coach went on to talk about their replacement plans, and how they’ll approach things over the next few days.

“Wasn’t feeling great this morning when I woke up, and just got tested and obviously we are where we are right now. I’m feeling okay. I’m feeling a little bit better now, which is good.

The rest of the week, I’ll be in every meeting, obviously virtually, as if that — every single meeting, every quarterback meeting, every offensive meeting, every team meeting, I’ll be running those, and just business as usual.”

Sirianni noted that practice kind of runs itself, going period to period, and he’s not the kind of coach that talks a lot after practice but rather saves that for meetings, anyway.

If the head coach is not able to coach in Sunday’s game against the Giants, he mentioned OC Shane Steichen will call plays, Kevin Patullo will make situational decisions (fourth down calls, coin toss, etc...), and RB coach Jemal Singleton will help as well. The reason he put Patullo in that role, is because he doesn’t have a position to coach and won’t have to split his time or focus.

Sirianni said he’s hopeful that he’ll be able to return despite the short, five-day turnaround, but he has confidence in his coaches and they’ve been prepared for something like this to happen. He also said that they’ve put in place a bunch of protections the past couple weeks around the facility to keep everyone distanced from each other, so hopefully things don’t spiral into an outbreak among the team. If there were to be an outbreak, Sirianni later said he wouldn’t lobby the NFL to push Sunday’s game back, saying that they’ll do what they feel is in the best interest of the teams and league.

“I felt fine last night. Ron [Rivera] was wearing a mask there, and we were wearing masks inside, and I wanted — obviously with Coach Rivera wearing a mask, I wanted to wear a mask as well, I just kind of covered myself up like this (pulling his hoodie over his mouth and nose) when I went in there. I kind of put my face under there. So, again, I felt fine last night.”

When he learned he had tested positive for Covid he was first concerned with getting out of the building, making sure his family was okay, and then worked on getting everything set up in the hotel he’s now staying. Fortunately, he and the coaches had already finished up a good portion of the game planning for Sunday, and he’ll hear from the medical staff about any injury updates later on.

Sirianni talked about how they do have one extra day than on a normal short week with a Thursday night game, so they are taking some lessons learned from their mistakes made when they faced the Buccaneers earlier in the season. They’re still deciding what they will do full speed at practice and how the week progresses with their preparation.