STUNNER: Washington releases former first-round pick Dwayne Haskins

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Washington Football Team announced Monday they have released second-year quarterback Dwayne Haskins.

Haskins, who Washington selected with the 15th overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, played just 16 games for the team over two seasons.

In a statement, Washington head coach Ron Rivera announced the move saying he hoped it would benefit both the team and Haskins.

"This afternoon I met with Dwayne and informed him that we would be releasing him," Rivera said in a statement.

"I told him that I believe it benefits both parties that we go our separate ways," that statement continued. "We want to thank Dwayne for his contributions these last two seasons and wish him well moving forward."

Haskins responded to the news on Twitter, writing, "My time with the WFT has unfortunately come to an end. I thank the team & fans for the opportunity to play for the team I grew up rooting for. I take full responsibility for not meeting the standards of a NFL QB & will become a better man & player because of this experience."

Before news of Haskins' release broke, Rivera spoke to the media and talked about the challenges Haskins faced during his time in Washington.

"You know, this is about learning experiences, life experiences," Rivera told the media earlier on Monday. "I think a lot of the things that he's gone through - and not just this year, but last year as well, kind of being put to the side and kind of being brought along then getting this (chance) at the end of the year.

"Sometimes you have to go through some hard knocks. Sometimes you have to reach rock bottom before you can dig your way back out of it. Sometimes change helps. But with Dwayne, it's, 'What have you learned?' What are you going to take from these experiences that are going to help you grow and get better? That's the big thing with him."

"I think that hopefully, he learns from these experiences because hopefully they'll make him stronger, and they'll help him and when he gets the next opportunity, he makes the best of it," Rivera said Monday.

The move comes one day after Haskins started in Washington's 20-13 loss to the Carolina Panthers in Week 16. Haskins was benched in the 4th quarter for Taylor Heinicke.

Earlier Monday Rivera announced Heinicke would start Washington’s Week 17 game against the Philadelphia Eagles if starter Alex Smith was unable to play due to a lingering calf injury. Washington will clinch the NFC East with a win.

The move comes one week after images and videos emerged of Haskins partying indoors without a mask around several people, his second violation of COVID-19 protocols this season. As a result, the team stripped him of his captaincy and they fined him $40,000.

More on this story as it develops.