Wildfires cancel Rams practice, limit Raiders

Wildfires cancel Rams practice, limit Raiders

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The Los Angeles Rams canceled practice and the Oakland Raiders were limited to just a walkthrough because of raging wildfires in California on Friday.

The Rams’ top priority was to ensure the safety of players, coaches, staff members and their families, many of whom live in Ventura and Los Angeles County communities where an estimated 75,000 homes have been placed under evacuation orders because of the Woolsey Fire.

“We just felt like the most important thing was for the guys to be with their families, their wives and their kids and be that support structure and do things the right way and not have them come in and be totally distracted like I know I would be if I was in their role,” coach Sean McVay said.

Forty-five people in the organization, including 20 players and coaches, were evacuated from their homes.

Meanwhile, the Raiders, affected by poor air quality stemming from the Camp Fire in Northern California, also adjusted their schedule from what was scheduled to be a full practice.

Raiders coach Jon Gruden said he “did not know” if the air quality might affect Sunday’s home game against the Los Angeles Chargers.

“I just hope that the fires go away,” Gruden said. “I’m more concerned about a lot of people that are being impacted by this. We’ll react to whatever the circumstances are (regarding the game). Let’s hope that, you know, this ends fast.”

McVay said he realized the Rams’ plans for the day would need to be altered when he was a on a text -message chain with coaches around 3 a.m. Friday morning, and defensive coordinator Wade Phillips and defensive line coach Bill Johnson said they had to leave their homes.

McVay said, to his knowledge, no one’s home in the organization had caught fire.

Rams right guard Austin Blythe thanked first responders on Twitter.

The Rams’ practice facility at California Lutheran University has been unaffected by the fire.

The Rams (8-1) are scheduled to play the Seattle Seahawks (4-4) at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum on Sunday. The Coliseum, located 55 miles southeast of the practice facility, is unlikely to be affected by the fires or resulting poor air quality, but team executives have been in communication with the NFL, in case the situation were to change.

McVay said the Rams are scheduled to hold a Saturday morning meeting at the team hotel in Los Angeles, and that they will hold a 1 hour, 15 minute practice on the campus of the University of Southern California.

Elsewhere, the San Francisco 49ers moved Friday’s practice in Santa Clara up an hour because of the air quality being affected by all the smoke. The team remains in contact with the NFL ahead of Monday night’s game against the New York Giants.

The devastating fires come a day after a mass shooting that claimed 12 victims at the Borderline Bar and Grill, which is just over 4 miles from the Rams’ practice facility, and 7 miles from the team’s headquarters in Agoura Hills.

ESPN’s Nick Wagoner and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

NFL News

via http://www.espn.com – NFL http://www.espn.com

November 9, 2018 at 01:34PM

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