Las Vegas Raiders interim coach Rich Bisaccia and quarterback Derek Carr addressed the media on Wednesday in the first public comments by the team since former starting wide receiver Henry Ruggs III was charged with a DUI resulting in death stemming from a car crash early Tuesday morning.
Ruggs, the No. 12 overall pick in the 2020 draft, was released by the team late Tuesday night.
Las Vegas resident Tina Tintor, 23, was killed after Ruggs’ car slammed into hers at 127 m.p.h. (after reaching a top speed of 156 m.p.h.), according to the Las Vegas Metro Police Department.
Bisaccia began his Wednesday afternoon press conference expressing sympathy to Tintor’s loved ones. “First of all, we want to express our sincere condolences to the victim’s family,” he said.
“We love Henry Ruggs,” Bisaccia continued. “We want him to know that. It was a terrible lapse in judgement that he’ll have to live with the rest of his life ... The gravity of the situation is not lost on anyone here and we understand and respect the loss of life.”
Bisaccia said he had a team wide Zoom meeting on Tuesday afternoon at 4 p.m. to get players updated on the situation because so many reports and stories were floating around all day. He said several players were texting with one another and some came to the facility to get more information.
“There is no blueprint or handbook for these types of things,” Bisaccia said. “We will lean on each other ... We’re involved in building the man here. We coach the man first, the player second.”
As for Ruggs’ actions, Bisaccia said: “He put himself in a bad situation and made a choice that altered his life.”
Bisaccia acknowledged that it is another difficult situation for his team that’s 2-0 since former coach Jon Gruden resigned suddenly because of offensive emails. Now it’s time for his 5-2 team to band together and prepare to play at the 2-6 New York Giants on Sunday.
Quarterback Derek Carr took to the podium, he said “we are ready to play football, there is no doubt about that.” However, Carr did acknowledged how difficult the situation is and says he feels for everyone involved.
Carr said he has been emotional since he heard the news of the crash. He said Ruggs’ texted him and Raiders’ receiver Hunter Renfrow a video of his golf swing around midnight Monday night, just hours before the fatal accident. Then, he said he woke up to the news of the crash. Carr said he has asked himself since then if he could have done anything else to prevent it.
“This one hurts,” Carr said. “Nobody wanted this to happen, including Henry.”
Carr said he will not abandon his former teammate in his darkest times.
“I will always be there for him, that won’t change,” Carr said. “I will prove that over the course of time to him ... He needs to be loved right now. If no one else will do it, I will do it.”