HENDERSON, Nev. — Derek Carr said he and Hunter Renfrow, avid golfers when not playing quarterback and receiver for the Las Vegas Raiders, received a text message with a video attached from Henry Ruggs III late Monday night.
“A golf swing,” Carr said Wednesday of the contents of the message from Ruggs, who had been at sports entertainment venue Topgolf and asked, “‘How’s my swing look? You guys need to help me.’
“Just seeing that and then getting the news when we woke up, how am I supposed to handle that? How am I supposed to react?”
Less than four hours after the text, Ruggs was involved in a car accident that resulted in the death of Tina Tintor, 23. He now faces felony charges of driving under the influence of alcohol resulting in death and reckless driving, and up to 46 years in prison if convicted. Ruggs, according to prosecutors, was driving 156 mph with a blood alcohol content twice Nevada’s legal limit when his 2020 Chevrolet Corvette slammed into the rear of Tintor’s 2013 Toyota Rav4, which burst into flames. Ruggs also could face a weapon charge for possessing a gun while under the influence, as he had a loaded gun in the car at the time of the crash.
The 2020 first-round draft pick was cut by the Raiders on Tuesday night.
Raiders interim coach Rich Bisaccia also spoke at the podium Wednesday and first read from a prepared statement.
“We want to express our sincere condolences to the victim’s family,” Bisaccia said. “A person lost their life yesterday morning, and we think it’s important to keep focus on that as we talk about this tragic event. We’re deeply saddened for everyone affected. Especially, the victim’s family.
“That being said, we love Henry Ruggs, and want him to know that. It was a terrible lapse in judgement, of the most horrific kind. It’s something 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.”
The Raiders had returned from their bye week with meetings and workouts on Monday, and Bisaccia said a “Unity Council Meeting” with team captains and other players totaling 14 was held to remind them of their responsibilities. The team, Bisaccia said, had talked about preventing things before they happen.
“But again, [Ruggs] put himself in a bad situation,” Bisaccia said, “made a choice that certainly altered his life.”
Tuesday was a scheduled off-day for the Raiders, but with “so much information” out there regarding Ruggs’ crash and arrest, Bisaccia held a team meeting via videoconference at 4 p.m. PT, “So they could see our faces,” Bisaccia said. “We wanted to give them the facts that we had at that particular time.”
Then as the Raiders received more information — Ruggs’ speed, his BAC, the nature of the fiery crash — the team released him. Another team meeting was held Wednesday morning to discuss the development.
“I think there’s two separate entities — there’s Henry Ruggs the football player, which is no longer a part of the Raiders, and then Henry Ruggs the person, who is certainly going through what he’s going through and is going to have to pay the consequences for the actions,” Bisaccia said.
“There’s no blueprint for this. There’s no handbook that they give you for the obstacles that … occur, whether you’re a parent, whether you’re a teacher, whether you’re, you know, my dad drove a truck. There’s no blueprint for these things, and I just think we’ll all lean on each other.
“To be perfectly frank, I really don’t know if I can put into words the emotional feelings that … I went through. I just know for me, as a parent, and a person that cares about young people and deals with young people every day, I really don’t know if I could quantify what the emotions are.”
Ruggs’ college coach at Alabama, Nick Saban, expressed similar sentiments Wednesday.
“Our thoughts and prayers certainly go out to all involved in this tragic situation, especially the victims. Our thoughts and prayers are certainly with them,” Saban said. “But our thoughts and prayers are also with Henry, his family, and I think this is something that a lot of folks can learn from. I think a lot of players on our team, when we say challenge people to make good choices and decisions, do the right thing, because sometimes the consequences can be devastating, and these consequences are gonna probably be pretty devastating to Henry. We love him, we’re gonna support him through it. But we also have a lot of compassion for the victims, and our thoughts and prayers are also with them.”
Bisaccia and Carr were the only Raiders to speak publicly Wednesday, and Carr also put Tintor’s family first. But on a personal level, he said, he was emotional when he walked by Ruggs’ locker Wednesday morning.
“For whatever reason, that got me. Like, like, he’s not going to be there,” Carr said, reiterating that he would miss him. “Not because he’s fast, not because of what he could do for me, but because of the person that he is and because I love him.
“This one hurts because, again, it really affects some families and it affected some lives. That hurts me, hurts my heart. Because I know there’s pain. I know there’s shame. I know that there’s anger, probably. All those feelings that no one wants to feel or have towards them, I know that it’s all there. That’s hard.”
ESPN’s Alex Scarborough contributed to this report.
San Francisco 49ers WR Deebo Samuel, LB Fred Warner out 1-2 weeks, coach Kyle Shanahan says
SANTA CLARA, Calif. — The San Francisco 49ers breathed a collective sigh of relief Monday after receiving important injury news on two of their best players.
Niners coach Kyle Shanahan said Monday that receiver Deebo Samuel and linebacker Fred Warner suffered groin and hamstring strains, respectively, in San Francisco’s 34-26 victory Sunday over the Minnesota Vikings.
The bad news is that both will miss at least Sunday’s game against the Seattle Seahawks. But Shanahan was more pleased by the fact that both players aren’t expected to miss more than a game or two as the 6-5 Niners make their push for an NFC playoff spot.
“That’s what I was kind of telling you guys last night that I hope for that it was just a strain,” Shanahan said. “And strains usually [last] anywhere from one to two weeks. I think it was very good news considering what it could have been.”
According to Shanahan, both Samuel and Warner could return as soon as the Dec. 12 game against the Cincinnati Bengals. Barring a setback, both would be expected back in time for a Dec. 19 home game against the Atlanta Falcons.
While the Niners got relatively good news in the big picture, the loss of Samuel and Warner even for one week is significant.
Samuel has been the team’s most productive offensive player, establishing himself as the league’s premier multidimensional weapon.
On Sunday, Samuel became just the third player in NFL history to record 1,000 receiving yards, five rushing touchdowns and five receiving scores in the same season.
Without Samuel, the Niners will look to second-year receiver Brandon Aiyuk to continue building on his recent surge, as well as the likes of tight end George Kittle, wideout Jauan Jennings and a burgeoning running game.
“He’s been a big part of our offense,” Shanahan said. “But I think we’re in a spot right now that we can overcome that.”
Replacing Warner also won’t be easy, especially since it’s something the Niners haven’t had to do at any point in his three-plus seasons. When he misses Sunday’s game against the Seahawks, it will be the first contest Warner has missed since he came into the league in 2018, snapping a streak of 59 consecutive regular-season starts.
How that plays out this week will depend on the status of fellow linebacker Dre Greenlaw. Greenlaw also left Sunday’s game with what Shanahan described as an “irritation” of the core muscle injury that had kept him out since Week 1. Greenlaw is considered day-to-day this week.
And with strongside linebacker Marcell Harris in the concussion protocol, the 49ers figure to enter the Seattle game woefully thin at linebacker. That puts even more onus on Al-Shaair, who had an interception and a fumble recovery in the win against Minnesota.
“Azeez has been ready for anything we’ve asked him to do,” Shanahan said. “He always runs around and plays like his hair is on fire and he loves playing the football game. That’s not changing, but he’s just getting more and more confident of where to be, what to anticipate … He’s been playing at a high level all year and whether he’s inside or outside, I expect it to continue, we need it to continue, because he’s one of the reasons we’re playing pretty good right now.”
Elsewhere on the injury front, running back Trey Sermon suffered an ankle sprain that Shanahan said will keep him out “for a little while” and makes him a candidate to head to injured reserve with a chance to return later in the season.
Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers not expected to have surgery to repair broken toe during bye week
Packers coach Matt LaFleur said Monday that Rodgers is “gathering other opinions, so we’ll see where that goes,” but a source said those opinions are not expected to lead to surgery during this week’s bye.
The Packers (9-3) are off until Dec. 12, when they’ll face the Chicago Bears in a Sunday night prime-time game.
“The most important thing is healing and taking care of my toe,” Rodgers said Sunday when asked about his bye-week plans.
NFL Network reported earlier on Monday that Rodgers does not plan to have surgery.
Rodgers said he fractured the toe during his COVID-19 quarantine earlier this month, and he has played in the past three games since with almost no on-field practice preparations.
The only full-fledged practice he took part in during that stretch was on Nov. 19, two days before the Packers’ loss at Minnesota. He said he received a pain-killing injection at halftime of the game against the Vikings but did not need one to play in Sunday’s win over the Los Angeles Rams.
“The difference is I didn’t have to get shot up again at halftime, so definitely the healing this week not practicing [helped],” Rodgers said after he threw for 307 yards and two touchdowns in Sunday’s 36-28 win over the Rams.
“Last week, I tried to do some stuff on Friday, felt like we needed maybe a little jolt and that kind of impacted Sunday a little bit from a pain standpoint. This week, I just did a walk-through on Saturday and obviously all the walk-throughs during the week, but no practice time, I think really helped. It definitely helped looking at the scans. The healing, kind of get to a better spot, so I’ve definitely felt better, but third quarter, late third, early fourth and I got stepped on early in the game, there was definitely some pain I was dealing with.”
Rodgers even had a rushing touchdown on Sunday, beating Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey around the edge for a 1-yard score. In the past two games combined, Rodgers has thrown for 692 yards and six touchdowns without an interception.
He said after Sunday’s game that he would make a decision about surgery after additional tests on Monday.
“The toe felt good most of the game,” Rodgers said. “Was just actually in talking with the docs. Not sure at this point; we’re going to do some more testing in the morning and get a better view of what’s going on in there, and then make a decision at that time.”
LaFleur said previously that he would leave the decision up to Rodgers and the medical staff.
“I’m not involved in any of those decisions, so I just take any information and hear it,” LaFleur said. “I don’t have ‘M.D.’ after my name. So I’ll let them handle that.”
Dallas Cowboys DT Trysten Hill suspended two games for punching Las Vegas Raiders OG John Simpson
The suspension was issued by NFL vice president of football operations Jon Runyan for violations of unnecessary roughness and unsportsmanlike conduct rules.
“After the Las Vegas Raiders-Dallas Cowboys game on November 25, you engaged in conduct that this office considers unnecessary roughness and displays a lack of sportsmanship. Specifically, as both teams were shaking hands, you waited more than 50 seconds for your opponent at the 50-yard line. When you located him, you then walked toward him in the opposite direction of your locker room. You both engaged in a verbal chest-to-chest confrontation which you escalated by throwing an open hand punch to his facemask, forcible enough to cause your opponent’s helmet to come off,” Runyan wrote in the letter to Hill.
Hill is appealing the suspension, a source told ESPN’s Todd Archer. Derrick Brooks or James Thrash, who are jointly appointed and paid by the NFL and the NFLPA, will issue a ruling on the appeal.
If Hill’s suspension stands, he would be eligible to return to the Cowboys’ active roster on Monday, Dec. 13. He would miss games against the New Orleans Saints this Thursday and against the Washington Football Team on Dec. 12.
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