Tagged in: Raiders

Raiders Allegiant stadium in Las Vegas to host 2021 NFL Pro Bowl

The NFL is taking the 2021 Pro Bowl to Allegiant Stadium, the new home of the Las Vegas Raiders.

The Pro Bowl was staged at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida, over the past four years. Peter O’Reilly, executive vice president of NFL events and club business development, confirmed to CNBC’s Jabari Young in January that a probable move was on the table. 

“It’s been a great four years,” O’Reilly said. “From our perspective, it’s looking at what are the other options.”

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy had also told reporters last August that Las Vegas and Los Angeles could be attractive candidates for the All-Star showcase. SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California, is still slated for completion later this summer. The 2020 NFL draft was supposed to serve as an informal welcome for Las Vegas as the Raiders are set to embark on their first season in Sin City. However, the COVID-19 pandemic forced the league to accommodate a fully virtual draft. 

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Vegas will have to wait until 2022 to become the epicenter of the NFL’s annual draft frenzy.

Because the Pro Bowl happens well after the completion of the regular campaign, players routinely pull out of the game. Chicago Bears running back Tarik Cohen also explained how participating in the Pro Bowl can be a somewhat deflating distinction because it means your team didn’t make the Super Bowl.

Las Vegas isn’t as far-flung as Halawa, Hawaii, where the Pro Bowl has most commonly called home in the past. The city might be a more attractive draw than Orlando as well. Combined, the two factors could help retain some marquee stars who otherwise would’ve waffled on whether to suit up in 2021.

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Father says Raiders WR Henry Ruggs III injures thigh during a move

Las Vegas Raiders rookie receiver Henry Ruggs III, the team’s top draft pick, suffered a cut to a thigh recently while moving things into a trailer, the player’s father informed AL.com on Monday.

A Raiders source stated the team was “told [Ruggs] will be fine” going forward.

“He was trying to move a trailer or something — move furniture or something — and the trailer just kind of pinned him against a car or a wall or something,” Henry Ruggs Jr. said. “He’s pretty much OK, I’m about to go out there and see him in a little bit. It was just like a little open wound on his leg, a little incision. Like something had stuck him right there on his thigh a little bit.”

Ruggs III, the No. 12 overall draft pick, was the first receiver selected in April’s draft, an historically deep draft for the position. He was also the fastest player in the draft, having run a 4.27-second 40 time at the combine.

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But like every player in the draft, the rookie has been reduced to virtual meetings with the Raiders since being selected due to the pandemic.

Being injured would obviously slow any other development.

“The Raiders are aware of a report regarding an off-field injury to Henry Ruggs III. Respecting Henry’s right to medical privacy, the team will not be commenting on the report,” the team said in a statement.

Ruggs Jr., meanwhile, stated his son is “just having to walk on crutches. Not putting as much pressure on it.”

Provisions due to the coronavirus, the elder Ruggs said, have not permitted him yet to speak to the doctor who treated his son.

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Carolina Panthers agree to deal with CB Eli Apple

Free-agent cornerback Eli Apple has agreed to sign with the Carolina Panthers, the team announced Thursday.

The 24-year-old had previously agreed to a deal with the Las Vegas Raiders, as ESPN’s Adam Schefter noted March 18, but Schefter reported April 2 that the two sides “were unable to finalize a contract.”

Apple’s NFL career started when the New York Giants drafted him 10th overall in 2016. He had a tumultuous two-plus campaigns before the Giants traded him to the New Orleans Saints in October 2018.

“There’s only just one corner that … needs to grow, and we all know who that is. That would be the only person I would change out of our secondary group. Besides, the other two guys, [Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie] and [Janoris Jenkins], I love those two guys. They play hard. They love what they do. But that first pick … he’s a cancer.”

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Apple played 30 matches (23 starts) for the Giants with one pick, two forced fumbles, 20 passes defended and 100 tackles (82 solo).

In the Bayou, he started all 25 regular-season matches he appeared in and recorded two interceptions one forced fumble and 58 tackles (53 solo).

Pro Football Focus graded Apple at 62.9 as a Giant and 65.0 as a Saint. For reference, San Francisco 49ers All-Pro Richard Sherman was Pro Football Focus’ top-ranked cornerback for the 2019 regular season, and he had an overall grade of 88.9.

The Panthers lost cornerback James Bradberry to the New York Giants in free agency. The team then drafted former Notre Dame cornerback Troy Pride Jr. in the fourth round and former Florida International cornerback Stantley Thomas-Oliver III in the seventh round of April’s draft.

Apple will apparently compete for the opportunity to start alongside 24-year-old Donte Jackson at cornerback for the Panthers, who ranked 20th against the pass last year.

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Raiders to host Saints in Las Vegas regular-season debut on Monday Night Football

The Las Vegas Raiders will make their regular-season home debut Sept. 21 on Monday Night Football versus the New Orleans Saints, a match that will be simulcast on ESPN and ABC, according to the full 2020 NFL schedule released Thursday night.

The matchup will introduce the country to the Raiders’ new home at Allegiant Stadium, where they have relocated after a 25-season run in Oakland, California.

The Saints, meanwhile, are one of nine teams that will make multiple appearances on Monday Night Football. In addition to their Week 2 match at Las Vegas, they’ll also host the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 5.

The NFL revealed its full 2020 schedule in anticipation of playing a typical season amid the coronavirus pandemic. Commissioner Roger Goodell told teams in a memo this week that adjustments will be made if necessary.

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“We will continue to work in a deliberate and thoughtful way to plan for the 2020 season, including with [Thursday’s] schedule release,” Goodell wrote, “and we will be prepared to address any contingencies as they arise.”

Other highlights of the Monday Night Football calendar include:

The Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs will travel in Week 3 to play the Baltimore Ravens, the AFC’s No. 1 playoff seed in 2019.

In their most recent matchup against each other, the Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes overcame the Ravens’ Lamar Jackson 33-28 in Week 3 of last season.

The Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs will travel in Week 3 to play the Baltimore Ravens, the AFC’s No. 1 playoff seed in 2019. In their most recent matchup against each other, the Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes overcame the Ravens’ Lamar Jackson 33-28 in Week 3 of last season.

Quarterback Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will make two appearances, in Week 8 at the New York Giants and in Week 11 at home against the Los Angeles Rams.

Two AFC East-related appearances by the New England Patriots, who bid farewell to Brady and are on track to start second-year player Jarrett Stidham in his place. The Patriots will play at the New York Jets in Week 9 and then host the Buffalo Bills in the final Monday Night Football match of the season, in Week 16.

A Week 1 doubleheader Sept. 14 that will pit the Pittsburgh Steelers at the New York Giants at 7:15 p.m. ET, followed by the Tennessee Titans at Denver Broncos in a 10:10 p.m. ET kickoff.

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Raiders to pursue Tom Brady if QB becomes free agent

A couple of teams have been named as possible landing spots for Tom Brady in free agency, but one specific team separated itself from the pack on Sunday.

The Las Vegas Raiders are “poised” to pursue Brady if the New England Patriots don’t re-sign him before free agency starts in March, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

It’s unclear at this point if Brady will leave the Patriots, who he has spent his entire 20-year career playing for. 

Owner Robert Kraft recently told TMZ Sports the Patriots “plan to” re-sign Brady.

The 42-year-old can become an unrestricted free agent for the first time when the new league year starts in March.

He still a productive player, throwing for 4,057 yards and 24 touchdowns in 2019. 

Schefter noted the Patriots are expected to want a decision from Brady before the start of free agency on March 18, but Brady is being “open-minded” about this process with several teams expected to look into signing him.

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The Raiders currently have Derek Carr under contract for three more seasons, but his deal is structured with just $5 million in dead cap for 2020 and $2.5 million in 2021 if they decide to release him. 

Moving from Oakland to Las Vegas would seem to give the Raiders more incentive to land a marquee name who can help sell season tickets and be used to market the team. 

The Raiders also have a solid offensive foundation in place that could appeal to Brady. Running back Josh Jacobs ran for 1,150 yards as a rookie in 2019; Darren Waller’s 1,145 receiving yards ranked second among tight ends (Travis Kelce, 1,229); and Tyrell Williams has blazing speed and averaged 15.5 yards per reception. 

Brady would give the Raiders instant credibility in their new city, not to mention an enormous marketing advantage that could be presented on billboards across Nevada.

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