Ron Rivera wants second chance for pair of aspiring NFL Canadians to workout for Washington

Photo courtesy: Washington Football Team

Washington Football head coach Ron Rivera wants to ensure two Canadian football players have the chance to workout for his team.

Defensive back Nelson Lokombo and offensive lineman Logan Bandy were scheduled to workout for Washington on Thursday, May 13, however, after another player tested positive for COVID-19 the session was cancelled.

Washington made modifications to their rookie mini-camp after one of the invited players contracted the coronavirus. Only players selected in the 2021 NFL Draft or who were with the team in 2020 were allowed to participate, which meant Lokombo and Bandy were not eligible to do so.

“I am sympathetic because I know how important those things are. What will probably happen is we’ll probably have an opportunity to bring those guys in and have them in for some sort of workout at some point. It’s just unfortunate, but through an abundance of caution, and player health and safety, we did what we had to do,” Rivera said in a videoconference.

“That’s unfortunate for those guys. At some point, I know we’ll talk about these guys once we’re done [rookie mini-camp] and talk about potentially doing something with them eventually as far as a workout day.”

Lokombo won the Presidents’ Trophy in 2019 as the top defensive player in Canadian University football. The University of Saskatchewan product recorded 115 total tackles, six tackles for loss, 15 pass knockdowns, ten interceptions, three sacks, and two forced fumbles in 30 games with the Huskies.

The 22-year-old defender was selected by the Saskatchewan Roughriders with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2021 CFL Draft and is expected to be a major contributor for the green and white — if an NFL contract doesn’t present itself.

Bandy fell on draft day in Canada and was eventually selected by Saskatchewan in the fifth round, 38th overall. The University of Calgary graduate and former hockey player has plenty of upside and athleticism, which is why Washington was hoping to bring him in for a workout.

The opportunity would have been key for both players as neither had a chance to showcase their skills due to the cancellation of the U Sports season in 2020. Both athletes were looking for other NFL rookie mini-camp spots, but the timeline worked against them as rosters were already finalized.

Washington’s rookie mini-camp was scheduled for May 14-15 and Canadian defensive back Benjamin St-Juste, who was selected in the third round, 74th overall, participated over the weekend.

Justin Dunk is a football insider, sports reporter and anchor.