- Las Vegas Raiders’ right tackle Trent Brown has tested positive for COVID-19.
- The entire Raiders’ starting offensive line has been sent home due to contact tracing protocol.
- Assuming they continue to test negative they should be able to play this weekend.
Another day brings some unprecedented COVID-19 related weirdness to the National Football League. It all started with Las Vegas Raiders’ right tackle Trent Brown testing positive for COVID-19 and is headed for the reserve list. That’s not good but the type of thing that a team has to expect during this coronavirus modified season.
It could be potentially disastrous for the Raiders assuming the ‘worst case scenario’ comes to pass. Due to NFL contact tracing protocol the Raiders sent home all five of their starting offensive linemen which forced the team to alter Wednesday’s practice due to a lack of players at the position. Safety Jonathan Abram was also sent home as part of the contact tracing. Fortunately for the Raiders the ‘worst case scenario’ is unlikely and that’s a relief to head coach Jon Gruden:
“Well, we’re listening to the league and they’re advising us on what to do. Trent Brown is not here today and his status is unknown. We had to send five of our starting linemen home today because they had a tracer. I guess, they were around Trent. I can’t get into anything more than that. Hopefully, we’ll get some players back tomorrow or for Sunday.”
Although Gruden is hopeful that Brown’s positive test and potential collateral damage won’t impact the team too much he’s not happy with the situation:
“How happy am I? I’m not happy. I’m concerned. I’m really more concerned about Trent [and] his health than anything. This is COVID and I am concerned about anybody that has it or is near it.”
Raiders’ owner Mark Davis told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that despite the hardship it causes for the team as they prepare for Saturday’s home game against Tampa Bay it was the right thing to do:
“As Jon and I have said, this is our No. 1 enemy and we have to beat this virus. The league is doing its best to make things run as smoothly as possible while being careful with everyone’s health.
“The idea of keeping (the offensive line home) and everyone else safe is the prudent move.”
Quarterback Derek Carr said that he’s trying to maintain focus:
“We’ve been taught, really brainwashed since we were kids, someone goes down, it’s next man/ You go to practice and you lose a starter, you lose this guy, you lose that guy, and you just play. It’s a weird thing because it doesn’t seem normal to rationally think that way.”
Carr did admit that it ranks as the strangest thing he’s dealt with in his football career:
“It ranks No. 1 in the weirdest things and y’all know we’ve seen a lot of weird things around here in my seven years. But this is definitely up there with some of the weirdest things I’ve ever seen.”
It appears that the offensive linemen that were sent home are not considered ‘high risk’ close contacts to Brown. That means that if their Wednesday COVID-19 tests are negative and they have no symptoms they can return to practice on Thursday. Had the OL been ‘high risk’ close contacts they would have been out for Sunday’s game and the league would have very likely considered a postponement.
The Don Best live odds feed issued this alert:
As of 3:30 PM Pacific, there hasn’t been much impact on the betting line for the game though a couple of influential sportsbooks have taken it off the board:
There should be more clarity on the status of the Raiders’ offensive line by midday tomorrow.
UPDATE 9:44 PM PACIFIC: The Las Vegas Review-Journal is reporting that the game is now off the board at a number of Southern Nevada sportsbooks:
The betting line for Sunday’s Raiders game is off the board at several Las Vegas sportsbooks after the team’s entire offensive line was sent home Wednesday because of coronavirus protocols.
Boyd Gaming, MGM Resorts, South Point, William Hill and the Wynn had the Tampa Bay-Raiders game scheduled for Sunday at Allegiant Stadium off the board.