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Washington football players reflect on their COVID experience - some were fighting illness, some boredom during quarantine

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Washington Cowboys Football

Washington Football Team offensive tackle Sam Cosmi was one of three players to go on the COVID list Thursday, part of a second wave of infections.

ASHBURN — Given the transitory nature of pro football, many players on the Washington Football Team only keep small apartments or townhouses in Ashburn, just enough for them to be comfortable during the season.

That plan, though, assumes long days and nights at the team facility — not a mandatory 10-day COVID quarantine.

“I was losing my mind,” defensive tackle Tim Settle said with a chuckle. “I didn’t have any symptoms. I was just sitting in a room.”

More than half of the Washington roster has now spent time on the COVID list, and the outbreak isn’t fully contained yet. On Thursday, three more players — punter Tress Way, offensive lineman Sam Cosmi and practice squad quarterback Kyle Shurmur — went on the list.

The timing couldn’t have been worse. Washington’s first positive tests showed up right before the first of five crucial NFC East contests, and with two games to go, the Football Team (6-9) is clinging to only the very slimmest playoff hopes after three straight losses, all of them with depleted rosters.

While many players were asymptomatic, that wasn’t the case universally.

Backup quarterback Kyle Allen said he was out of commission for 4 or 5 days before he felt good, but because he was unable to exercise in his small apartment for the next five days, he was out of shape entering Sunday’s game in Dallas.

“Warming up for the game on Sunday, I remember I went in about 20 minutes early from warmups just because I was exhausted,” he said. “I just didn’t have my wind back.”

Allen said he considered using the gym at his apartment building at the end of his quarantine but didn’t because “I didn’t want to go and spread COVID in my apartment.”

Offensive lineman Cornelius Lucas may have the worst luck.

He contracted the virus before training camp this year, the second time he’d had COVID. But the silver lining was that he was exempt from testing for 90 days. That time expired just in time for this latest outbreak, and Lucas, who is vaccinated, has now been infected three times.

“I feel like COVID has a thing for me, man,” he said. “People joke about me having a weak immune system, but I feel like it’s really strong if I can make it through COVID three times.”

Lucas said each of the three has been increasingly mild, but each has still taken away his strength and stamina, which are crucial on the offensive line.

“The mental fatigue, like, really not feeling like yourself,” he said. “The tightness of the chest, that kind of takes a while to really subside.

“We’re still pushing through some things. But I’m feeling pretty good. I feel like I worked my way back — mostly.”

Kendall Fuller, a former Hokies standout, described a similar feeling.

“Just felt a little weak, you feel achy, just different stuff like that,” he said. “You just try to plow through it and just keep on getting healthy.”

For Settle, the downtime came with an exciting finish. After hoping for a negative test, he received one the morning of the Tuesday night game against the Eagles, and jumped on team owner Dan and Tanya Snyder’s private jet to join the team in time for warmups.

“It was pretty cool,” he said with a smile. “My first time being on a [private] jet. A nice experience.”

mphillips@timesdispatch.com

(804) 649-6546

Twitter: @michaelpRTD

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