During a leaguewide Zoom meeting Thursday among league owners and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, one of the subjects was the health and safety of players amid the coronavirus pandemic, particularly on game day.
It was floated that the NFL Players Association was requesting the first eight rows of stadiums — and possibly the entire first deck — be tarped over to protect the players, which might have prompted an immediate vote by owners.
After a heated discussion in which Raiders owner Mark Davis forcefully expressed his misgivings, the measure passed 31-1 requiring teams to tarp off the first eight rows but have the ability to sell advertising on them.
The dissenting vote came from Davis.
“I can’t imagine telling one fan they cannot attend the opening game of our inaugural season in Las Vegas at the most magnificent stadium that they helped to build.”
Raiders quarterback Derek Carr on Tuesday compared rookie wide receiver Bryan Edwards to Carr’s former Fresno State teammate and current Packers’ star Davante Adams. On Friday one of Edwards’ high school coaches said he has long seen similarities to another perennial All-Pro.
“He’s always reminded me of A.J. Green,” said Conway (S.C.) head coach Carlton Terry, who was an assistant when Edwards played there and coached against Green in high school. “They both just have that ability to make plays at receiver and return punts. Just men on the field in comparison to the other players. Not only did they stand out vertically, but for big men to have that athleticism is just so rare.”
Edwards’ natural gifts were evident from the moment he walked into Conway High School as a 13-year-old freshman.
Raiders coach Jon Gruden on Thursday talked about the need to adapt every day to the practice availability of his players.
It went without saying he was referring to the potential impact of COVID-19, the constant shadow he and the Raiders will be operating under this year.
By late afternoon, that possibility became a reality when Raiders defensive end Maxx Crosby and running back Rod Smith were added to the COVID-19 injured reserve list.