Football Team

Rivera stays mum on Vermillion amid investigation

Football Team

Ron Rivera's Monday press conferences are typically reserved for further discussion about his team's Sunday performance, but his session to begin this particular week was largely focused on a different topic entirely.

Just before Rivera met with the media on Zoom, NBC Sports Washington's JP Finlay, NBC4's Julie Carey and 106.7 The Fan's Grant Paulsen reported that the Washington Football Team's head athletic trainer, Ryan Vermillion, had recently been placed on administrative leave after federal law enforcement conducted a raid at the franchise's Ashburn facility last Friday.

In a statement, the organization said that there is an "ongoing criminal investigation that is unrelated to the team."

So, once Rivera was made available — his presser was originally scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. but was pushed back 30 minutes after the news broke — he faced plenty of questions about the matter. He chose not to provide much clarity on it, though.

To begin, Rivera was asked if he had any additional update aside from what Washington revealed in its statement.

"Nope, all I can tell you is that we've made a statement," he said.

As for whether Vermillion is on paid leave, Rivera basically repeated his opening comment.

"The team has already made its statement," the coach said.

Paulsen later reported that Vermillion's Virginia home was also "searched by DEA agents in full gear" on Friday. Rivera and Vermillion were together for years in Carolina before continuing their working relationship in Washington beginning in 2020, but Rivera didn't want to disclose his own reaction to the unfolding story.

 

"I'm not going to comment on how I personally feel about what's going on," he said. "That'll go beyond what I need to say."

Vermillion wasn't present at Sunday's game in Atlanta.

Moving forward, Rivera said he's going to "work it with the doctors" and "go from there" as far as figuring out who'll lead the medical side of things in Vermillion's absence.

With the Falcons win now in the past, Washington is slated to battle the New Orleans Saints in Week 5. Rivera is confident that those in the locker room won't be distracted by the situation involving their trainer.

"The biggest thing we'll talk about, most certainly, is focusing on what's important right now for us as far as getting ready to play football games and that's how we'll handle it," Rivera said. "The guys know how to compartmentalize and prepare themselves. They'll know when to focus in."