We now know why running backs Jalen Richard and Theo Riddick were not on the practice field on Wednesday morning as the Las Vegas Raiders conducted their first training camp practice of the year.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that both players are in the NFL’s COVID-19 protocol.
Per a person with knowledge: The absence of Jalen Richard and Theo Reddick today at @Raiders practice was part of Covid-19 protocols.— Vincent Bonsignore (@VinnyBonsignore) July 28, 2021
UDPATE: The Raiders announced the moves and also put running back Kenyan Drake on the non-football injury list with an undisclosed injury. He can return when healthy. The Las Vegas Review Journal reported the hope is he can return Friday.
It is not known if the players have tested positive for the coronavirus or if they are close contacts. If they did test positive and they are not vaccinated, the players will have to miss at least 10 days. The Raiders were one of the most affected teams by the coronavirus in the 2020 season. Las Vegas head coach Jon Gruden said on Tuesday that only “four or five” players are not vaccinated.
Last week after the NFL announced strict guidelines for unvaccinated players, Richard, who is entering his sixth season with the Raiders, tweeted out his displeasure at the new rules without actually saying if he is vaccinated or not. Below is the text from the tweet (it appears his account no longer exists).
I encourage all unvaccinated players to read the rules-know em like you know your plays. We playing in jail this year and you should act as such. The only benefit we have is we still get tested everyday, but protect yourselves this season. Play ball and go home - sad but a must!
There has been speculation around the NFL that fringe players who are unvaccinated may be at a greater risk to be cut, Both Richard and Riddick are backups.
The Raiders are among several teams starting training camp with players on the COVID-19 list. It’s a reminder that while things are better this year, the struggles of last year are still a reality.
“We learned the hard way. I got fined, the Raiders got fined. It wasn’t easy but it was a part of the process,” Gruden said Tuesday. “We lost a lot of players last year because of COVID. So did other teams, so we’re not going to totally disregard where this virus is and the variants that are out there. But I’m not an expert on the virus, I’m just trying to get our football team ready to play and I’m going to do the best I can to carry out the protocols that the league has and what our medical people advise and we will do our very best.”