The Las Vegas Raiders just recently let go of several players to get under the 80 player roster limit that goes into effect in the middle of August. They had some room to add players after the cuts and have already brought in a new face. The team announced on Friday that they are signing former Los Angeles Rams linebacker Bryce Hager.
Hager was drafted by the Rams in the seventh round of the 2015 NFL Draft. He’s mainly been a special teams contributor over his five seasons with the team but had a chance to start four games at linebacker for them in 2019. He’ll be joining a former teammate in Cory Littleton, who the Raiders signed this offseason. While the opportunity to gets snap at linebacker for Hager will be limited, he’ll have a shot to make some plays on special teams. That’ll be his best shot at making the team.
Maxx Crosby & Rod Smith Land on Reserve/COVID-19 List
The addition of Hager might also have to do with the fact that the Raiders could be missing one of their best defenders for some time. The team announced that 2019 Defensive Rookie of the Year runner-up Maxx Crosby has landed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list. This doesn’t necessarily mean that he tested positive for the disease but it at least means he came into contact with somebody who has.
Running back Rod Smith also landed on the list. That’s a bigger blow for him than it is Crosby. Last year’s sack leader for the Raiders already has his spot on the roster locked up. Smith is currently battling to get the last running back spot. Fellow running back Devontae Booker was on the Reserve/COVID-19 list for a brief time at the start of training camp. Hopefully, Crosby and Smith won’t take too long to come off the list.
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Jon Gruden Tricked Players Into Thinking He Was Hospitalized
Head coach Jon Gruden has been very stern about how important it is that the Raiders do their part to fight COVID-19. He went so far as to trick his players into thinking that he was hospitalized with the disease, according to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo.
“It wasn’t a joke,” Garafolo explained. “What it was was the team illustrating to the players that this could happen at any moment to anybody.”
Though Gruden is very much a jokester, his trick on the players wasn’t meant to be funny. The coaching staff was doing it to further demonstrate just how serious all of this is. Players on the team are usually young and very healthy. They aren’t at as high a risk as some of the older coaches. The NFL is on a good track and the intent is for the season to happen on time. However, a lot can happen between right now and Week 1 of the season if players don’t act carefully. An outbreak of COVID-19 in the NFL could result in a delay of the season or even a cancellation.