Falcons shut down facility after positive COVID test

Passing the flag on Saturday, Aug. 26, 2017 at the opening of the brand new Mercedes Benz Stadium and pre-season NFL game between the Atlanta Falcons and the Arizona Cardinals. JOHN SPINK/JSPINK@AJC.COM

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Passing the flag on Saturday, Aug. 26, 2017 at the opening of the brand new Mercedes Benz Stadium and pre-season NFL game between the Atlanta Falcons and the Arizona Cardinals. JOHN SPINK/JSPINK@AJC.COM

After a Falcons player tested positive for COVID-19, the 12th player-related COVID-19 incident this season, the team stopped all in-person work at its headquarters in Flowery Branch and will practice virtually Thursday.

The team has started contact-tracing protocols. After the release of the positive test, center Alex Mack was removed from the media availability list. He was scheduled to speak to reporters Thursday.

Mack was later placed on the team’s reserve/COVID-19 list.

Clubs are not permitted to comment on a player’s medical status other than referring to roster status. Clubs may not disclose whether the player is in quarantine or is positive for COVID-19.

Mack, a six-time Pro Bowler, has started 14 games at center and was coming out of the concussion protocol. Rookie Matt Hennessy started for Mack on Sunday against the Chiefs.

The decision to close the facilities was made in consultation with the NFL and medical officials and does not affect the status of Sunday’s game at Tampa Bay, the Falcons said.

The Falcons placed defensive end Dante Fowler on the NFL’s Reserve/COVID-19 list Nov. 14.

Fowler became the 11th Falcons player to appear on COVID-19 list. The others are defensive linemen John Cominsky, Marlon Davidson and Tyeler Davison, defense backs A.J. Terrell, Jamal Carter, Chris Cooper and Jaylinn Hawkins, quarterback Danny Etling, fullback Keith Smith and linebacker Foye Oluokun. Etling later was released.

The Falcons have shut down their facility in Flowery Branch three times because of COVID-19 concerns – on Oct. 15, Nov. 6 and Thursday. The Falcons are not permitted to comment on a player’s medical status other than to refer to roster status. Clubs may not disclose whether a player is in quarantine or tested positive for COVID-19.

The Falcons were the first team to have a player on the COVID-19 list this season, before there were outbreaks in Tennessee, New England, Oakland, San Francisco and Cleveland.

The Falcons (4-11) are set to play Tampa Bay (10-5) in the regular-season finale at 1 p.m. Sunday at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla.

Falcons’ 2021 draft position

1. Jacksonville Jaguars

2. New York Jets

3. Miami Dolphins (via Houston)

4. Falcons

5. Cincinnati Bengals

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