The Las Vegas Raiders are one of the fortunate teams who have yet to have a player opt-out of the 2020 season due to concerns surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. However, they reportedly have their first player land on the Reserve/COVID-19 list. According to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN, running back Devontae Booker is getting placed on the list.
Raiders RB Devontae Booker expected to be placed on reserve/covid-19 list, per source. Former Broncos leading rusher signed with Las Vegas this offseason.
— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) July 30, 2020
The report has been verified by Raiders insider Vincent Bonsignore of the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Can confirm that @Raiders will place RB Devontate Booker on temporary IR/covid-19 list.
— Vincent Bonsignore (@VinnyBonsignore) July 30, 2020
The Reserve/COVID-19 list was put in place for players who have either tested positive for the disease or have been in close contact with somebody who has tested positive. Booker will likely have to quarantine for several days before he can join the team.
Booker was brought in this offseason to fight for a potential spot as a backup running back to Josh Jacobs. Right now, the team also has Jalen Richard, Lynn Bowden and Rod Smith. It will be very difficult for Booker to make the team but he was impressive during his rookie year with the Denver Broncos. If he can recapture that magic, he’ll have a good shot at being Jacobs’ backup.
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Jon Gruden Talks COVID-19
Football is really close to returning with training camp starting up. However, it’s not necessarily a given that games will actually get played. With the COVID-19 pandemic still playing a prominent role in the world, Raiders head coach Jon Gruden stressed the importance of the team being careful.
“One mistake, you bring us all down,” Gruden said in a press conference on Thursday. “And not just in a football way … we want to beat this virus into the ground.”
This echoes what he told Vic Tafur of The Athletic earlier in the week.
“Hopefully, we can beat the virus. The Chiefs are great — unfortunately we have to play them twice — but we got the toughest opponent … we gotta beat this virus, man. You and me and everybody else, and hopefully somebody comes up with a cure soon.”
Unlike the NBA, there is no planned NFL bubble. Players are going to have a lot more freedom. There are a lot more players on an NFL roster than an NBA one so there could be a number of issues that stem from just one guy on the team not following the rules. Luckily, the Raiders have put together a team of very high character players. It’s hard to imagine many players of their roster getting into any kind of trouble. New Raiders wide receiver Henry Ruggs put to rest any notion that his teammates and he will get into any trouble.
“We’re all safe if we’re around each other or at home,” Ruggs said on Thursday.
With the Raiders moving to Las Vegas, there are lot more added temptations for young players compared to other teams. It will be up to the veterans to keep the team in check.