ASHBURN, Va. -- The Washington Football Team was forced to deal with another tragic situation after third-year defensive end Montez Sweat's brother was shot and killed Tuesday afternoon.
According to the Henrico County Police Division's Twitter feed, Anthony Sweat, 27, was shot and killed at an apartment complex in the Richmond suburb of Henrico. The police report stated that other people at the scene dispersed after shots were fired. Sweat was pronounced dead at the scene.
It's the second tragedy to touch a member of the franchise in the past week. On Dec. 23, safety Deshazor Everett was involved in a one-car accident that killed his girlfriend, Olivia Peters. Everett, a team captain and key special-teams performer, has been released from the hospital. Two of Everett's teammates, Jamin Davis and Benjamin St-Juste, were also on the scene. The investigation into the accident remains ongoing.
Montez Sweat's mother died earlier this year. He was not at practice Wednesday.
"It is rough and our thoughts and prayers are with the families," Washington coach Ron Rivera said. "When we're here in the facility, we try to make sure the players understand that we're here for them."
Washington has faced a number of on-field issues in the past month as well, losing key players such as tight end Logan Thomas, running back J.D. McKissic and safety/linebacker Landon Collins to season-ending injuries. The WFT also dealt with a COVID-19 outbreak that at one point sidelined 23 players, including its top two quarterbacks Taylor Heinicke and Kyle Allen.
The outbreak prompted the NFL to postpone Washington's Dec. 19 game against the Philadelphia Eagles by two days, leaving Washington on a short week for a pivotal game at Dallas. Washington was forced to start Garrett Gilbert against the Eagles, four days after he signed with the team.
After the 56-14 loss to the Cowboys on Sunday, Rivera pointed out all his team had dealt with in the past month, saying, "These guys are more than just robots. These are people. They've got a teammate going through something right now. It's tough. That's not normal s---. That's real life."
Washington receiver Terry McLaurin said seeing the tragedies his teammates have been confronted with, combined with what has transpired on the field, has been difficult.
"It's definitely been challenging for us all," McLaurin said. "You don't know what people are going through on a personal level outside this building. We're all human and we're all going through things much bigger than football."
Heinicke, who returned for the Dallas game, said players have leaned on one another during this period.
"I mean, every single room has been affected by something, whether it's COVID, injuries, anything," Heinicke said. "So as a team, we've all leaned on each other and try to get through it with each other. Obviously the captains have done a great job of keeping the ship sailing, but I think overall as a team, we've done a good job of leaning on each other."