Raiders game may move
NFL watching fires; Elliott’s 6-game ban upheld on appeal.
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 about 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 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.”
Cowboys: A federal appeals court cleared the way for the NFL to impose a six-game suspension on running back Ezekiel Elliott over domestic violence allegations, siding with the league in the latest high-profile fight over its ability to punish players for off-field behavior.
In a 2-1 decision, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel in New Orleans granted the league’s emergency request to set aside an injunction and ordered a district court in Texas to dismiss Elliott’s case.
The NFL announced that the suspension was effective immediately, though further appeals were possible and the Cowboys are not playing this weekend.
“We are currently exploring all of our legal options and will make a decision as to what is the best course of action in the next few days,” Elliott attorney Frank Salzano said.
The Cowboys don’t play again until next Sunday, Oct. 22, at San Francisco. If Elliott’s legal team can’t put the suspension on hold again, he won’t be eligible to play until Nov. 30 at home against Washington, a Thursday night game the week after Thanksgiving.
Bengals: Tight end Tyler Eifert will miss the rest of the season with a back injury that puts his career in jeopardy.
The fifth-year veteran missed half of last season with ankle and back injuries. He had surgery on a disc in his back last December. He aggravated it in the second game this season, forcing him to consider another procedure. He’s been inactive for the past three games and went on injured reserve Thursday.
49ers: The team won’t be forcing their players to stand during the national anthem, safety Eric Reid said.
Reid, the first player to join Colin Kaepernick in protest last season, said he had a conversation recently with CEO Jed York, who indicated he will continue to support his players if they decide to kneel during the national anthem to protest social injustice.
Titans: Wide receiver Rishard Matthews said he would be done playing football when asked on Twitter if he would accept a fine or penalty if the NFL instituted a new rule for the national anthem. He later deleted the tweet, but Matthews’ response to a reporter from his verified account was captured by a screen grab.
The starting receiver has stayed in the locker room during the anthem through the last two games.
Rams: Linebacker Alec Ogletree agreed to a fouryear extension through 2021.