- The Las Vegas Raiders have 11 players on the COVID-19/reserve list.
- Raiders’ defensive end Clelin Ferrell went on the list following a positive test on Tuesday setting off the chain reaction.
- Most sportsbooks have taken the Raiders’ Sunday game against the Kansas City Chiefs off the board.
For the second time this season, the Las Vegas Raiders are facing a serious personnel issue due to COVID-19. In late October, Las Vegas faced the possibility of playing without their entire starting offensive line after Trent Brown tested positive for the coronavirus and brought several teammates with him as ‘high risk contacts’. Ultimately, the players that hit the COVID-19/reserve list due to contact tracing were able to play though Brown remains out of action.
The current situation has the potential to be even more difficult as the Raiders are set to face defending Super Bowl champions Kansas City at Allegiant Stadium this weekend. The only ‘silver lining’ is that like the situation with Trent Brown most of the impacted players could be reactivated in time for the game assuming they continue to test negative. Here’s how the situation developed–defensive end Clelin Ferrell tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday and seven teammates were pegged as ‘high risk contacts’. Defensive back Lamarcus Joyner had already been put on the list earlier in the week. Linebacker Cory Littleton was added to the COVID-19 list last week and is considered unlikely to play though he’s ‘officially’ listed as ‘questionable.
The initial NFL Network report indicated that ‘nearly the entire Raiders starting defense’ was going on the COVID-19/reserve list. Head coach Jon Gruden reminded the media that whatever the circumstances his team will be there to play on Sunday:
“We practiced today and we’ll be ready for the game on Sunday. It’s what you have to do. Everybody has to adapt to a lot of things in every phase of life. We had to go through some things before. We’ll be there on Sunday and we’ll be prepared. We’re excited to compete.”
As of Wednesday, there’s no indication that the game could be postponed. ESPN quoted a NFL spokesman who dispassionately said that:
“all clubs have roster flexibility (16 practice squad players) and those high-risk close contact players in quarantine will be eligible to participate in the game provided they continue to test negative.”
Las Vegas has had as many problems with COVID-19 as any team in the league and much of that might very well be their own doing. They’ve been hit with nearly $1.2 million in fines and have lost a sixth round draft pick for failure to adhere to league protocols. Here’s how the Las Vegas Review-Journal ran down their malfeasance:
The Raiders have had difficulties this year navigating through the pandemic. A number of players have ended up on the COVID-19 list due to positive test results or being high-risk close contacts.
The result of those repeated slip-ups was the heavy penalty the NFL recently dropped on the Raiders, fining the franchise $500,000 and coach Jon Gruden $150,000 and stripping the Raiders of a sixth-round draft pick.
Earlier in the season, Gruden was fined $100,000 and the club $250,000 after a Week 2 home game against the New Orleans Saints because Gruden was not consistently wearing a mask on the sidelines.
In addition, the Raiders were fined another $50,000 for allowing a non-cleared team employee into the locker room after the game.
Lastly, 10 Raiders players were fined a combined $150,000 for violating protocols during a fundraiser held by tight end Darren Waller.
Like much of the United States, Nevada has been hit hard by the current resurgence of COVID-19. Late last week, state governor Steve Sisolak reported that he’d tested positive for the coronavirus and earlier today indicated that he’d be announcing a new round of ‘mitigation options’ to stem the COVID-19 pandemic in the Silver State ‘very soon’. The Raiders aren’t the only Las Vegas sports team hit by the COVID-19 upswing–on Wednesday, UNLV’s game at Colorado State was called off due to four positive tests within the Rebels’ program.
As of 2:45 PM Pacific, the LVRJ’s Jim Barnes reported that Circa Sports was the only sportsbook in town that had the Raiders/Chiefs game available for betting:
The Raiders’ home game Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs is off the board at Las Vegas sportsbooks with several Raiders defensive players headed to the COVID-19 reserve list.
Circa Sports is the only book that still has the game up, with a line of Chiefs -7½ (-115), total 57, Chiefs money line -350 (Raiders +296). There is a “limited” designation on the game on the Circa app.