Raiders game may be af­fected by wild­fires

Lodi News-Sentinel - - Sports - By Michael Wagaman

ALAMEDA — The NFL is keep­ing an eye on the wild­fires in North­ern Cal­i­for­nia and has been ex­plor­ing op­tions to move Sun­day’s game between the Oakland Raiders and Los An­ge­les Charg­ers if it be­comes nec­es­sary.

Michael Sig­nora, the NFL’s vice pres­i­dent of foot­ball com­mu­ni­ca­tions, said Thurs­day that the league is get­ting up­dates on the sit­u­a­tion from both teams and from city of­fi­cials in Oakland.

“We con­tinue to mon­i­tor air qual­ity con­di­tions in the Bay Area and are in close com­mu­ni­ca­tion with both the Raiders and Charg­ers, as well as lo­cal au­thor­i­ties,” Sig­nora said. “At this point, the game re­mains sched­uled for Sun­day in Oakland.”

At least 26 peo­ple have died and some 3,500 homes and busi­nesses have been de­stroyed by the blazes, which be­gan in Cal­i­for­nia wine coun­try Sun­day. An es­ti­mated 25,000 peo­ple have been driven from their homes.

Oakland, which is some 45 miles south of the fires, has been blan­keted by smoke.

Col­lege foot­ball games in Berke­ley and Stan­ford are also planned for this week­end, and of­fi­cials from both schools are mon­i­tor­ing the sit­u­a­tions there as well.

If the NFL de­cides that con­di­tions in Oakland are too un­healthy to play Sun­day, the Raiders game could be moved to Levi’s Sta­dium in Santa Clara. San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer has also of­fered up Qual­comm Sta­dium, where the Charg­ers used to play be­fore re­lo­cat­ing to Los An­ge­les this year.

“It’s up to them to make the fi­nal de­ci­sion to ei­ther move us, pre­pare us to play here, or what not,” Raiders cor­ner­back TJ Car­rie said. “But we have to con­tinue to prac­tice and play as if we’re go­ing to play here.”

Car­rie said the Raiders have ad­vised play­ers to be cau­tious with their time out­side.

“Our strength team and some of the nu­tri­tion­ist peo­ple that we have, they’ve ex­pressed to us on dif­fer­ent masks that we can pur­chase and dif­fer­ent things that we can do to just keep us healthy,” Car­rie said. “Stay­ing in­doors, lit­tle things that they feel like will make the most dif­fer­ence.”

The fires aren’t far from

Napa, where the Raiders have held train­ing camp since 1996, one year af­ter late owner Al Davis moved the team back to Oakland from Los An­ge­les.

“It’s scary for all the vic­tims that one, we’ve lost, and then the vic­tims who’ve lost their liveli­hood,” Car­rie said. “We’re talk­ing about homes, cars, mem­o­ries, pic­tures. They’ve lost so much in this process and it’s very dev­as­tat­ing. As ev­ery­one within the com­mu­nity, we need to pull to­gether for them.”

The smoky con­di­tions have forced the Raiders to al­ter their out­door sched­ule this week. Prac­tice times have been changed to limit the ef­fect on the play­ers.

“We’ve done our best to stay as in-rou­tine as we can,” of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Todd Down­ing said. “Coach (Jack Del Rio) has done an awe­some job of ad­just­ing where he’s needed to but we feel like we’re putting to­gether a good week of prep.”

Notes: QB Derek Carr (back), WR Amari Cooper (knee), right guard Gabe Jack­son (foot), cor­ner­back David Amer­son (shoul­der) and RB DeAn­dre Wash­ing­ton (ham­string) were all lim­ited in prac­tice. LB Cory James (knee) and TE Lee Smith (knee) prac­ticed af­ter sit­ting out Wed­nes­day. Firstround pick Gareon Con­ley (shin) and FB Jamize Olawale (con­cus­sion) were held out.

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