Raiders

Raiders’ Vontaze Burfict suspended for 2019 NFL season over reckless hit

Raiders’ Vontaze Burfict suspended for 2019 NFL season over reckless hit

The Raiders will be without veteran linebacker Vontaze Burfict for the rest of 2019.

The NFL suspended Burfict for the remainder of the season without pay Monday, one day after he was ejected from the Raiders' 31-24 win over the Colts for an illegal helmet-to-helmet hit on Indianapolis tight end Jack Doyle.

Below is a statement from NFL vice president of football operations Jon Runyan on the decision. 

ESPN's Chris Mortensen first reported Monday that Burfict was facing a season-long suspension.

The season-long suspension will be the 13th time the eight-year pro either has been fined or suspended, but NFL Media's Ian Rapoport reported Burfict plans to appeal his latest ban. 

Following yesterday's win over Indianapolis, Raiders coach Jon Gruden was upset about Burfict's ejection, especially because it was made by officials away from the field.

"I know [officials in] New York City pulled the ejection, so you’d have to ask New York -- whoever is in the room that made that decision," Gruden said. "I think it was penalized multiple times by multiple referees today. Nobody on the field in our stadium or in this zip code made the call to eject him. That came from New York City, so what can I do? I don't have a cell phone on the field."

You can bet that Gruden is even more upset now that his captain out for the rest of the season.

The Raiders' next game is Sunday against the Bears in London.

Raiders' Rodney Hudson ranked among best interior linemen in ESPN poll

Raiders' Rodney Hudson ranked among best interior linemen in ESPN poll

The Raiders have seen massive roster turnover over the past few seasons since coach Jon Gruden and general manager Mike Mayock took over control of the organization.

But one stalwart throughout the adapting lineup has been veteran center Rodney Hudson. And with good reason, as ESPN recently ranked Hudson as the sixth-best interior offensive lineman in the NFL.

Anyone who has followed the Raiders over the past half-decade can tell you that Hudson has been an impeccable leader of the team's entire offensive linemen, helping run the offense along with quarterback Derek Carr.

[RELATED: Bill Callahan's 'dumbest team in America' rant sealed his Raiders fate]

Hudson has been especially proficient in pass protection, where he ranked either first or second every season in Pro Football Focus' pass-blocking grades from 2014-19. The Florida State product also came in at No. 99 on PFF's All-Decade top 101.

Hudson signed a three-year, $33.75 million extension with the Raiders in Aug. of 2019, making him the highest-paid center in the NFL. Given all the evidence above, Hudson clearly has earned it with his play for the Silver and Black.

[SPORTS UNCOVERED: Listen to the latest episode]

Raiders' Henry Ruggs had lowest drop rate among first-round receivers

Raiders' Henry Ruggs had lowest drop rate among first-round receivers

Henry Ruggs had plenty of qualities that warranted being the first wide receiver off the board in April's draft.

Top-of-the-line speed, eye-popping athleticism and solid production at one of the nation's best collegiate programs made Ruggs an easy choice for Raiders general manager Mike Mayock and coach Jon Gruden.

Pro Football Focus provided more evidence to support Ruggs' case, as he ended his time at Alabama with the lowest drop rate among the six wideouts taken in this year's first round.

[SPORTS UNCOVERED: Listen to the latest episode]

The speedster averaged 19.5 yards per touch over his junior season, making the most of every opportunity with the Crimson Tide in 2019. Although he caught just 40 passes last season, seven went for touchdowns, with Ruggs adding a 75-yard touchdown run (pass was caught behind the line of scrimmage) during a win over New Mexico State.

[RELATED: Would Raiders have won SB XXXVII if Robbins had played?]

Over his entire career in Tuscaloosa, 24 of his 98 receptions resulted in touchdowns.

The Raiders will need Ruggs' sure hands right away, as quarterback Derek Carr hopes to get the Raiders off to a strong start in the franchise's inaugural season in Las Vegas.