Raiders reeling with COVID again while prepping for Chiefs

Something about Sunday Night Football seems to bring out the worst for the Las Vegas Raiders when it comes to dealing with COVID-19.The Raiders had their Oct. 25 prime time game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers shifted to the afternoon when offensive tackle Trent Brown came down with the virus and the entire starting offensive line was forced into quarantine until the morning of the game because of their high-risk contact with Brown.Tampa Bay cruised to a 45-20 victory.Now Las Vegas (6-3), winners of three in a row, finds itself in the midst of another COVID-19 outbreak heading into Sunday night’s AFC West showdown with the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs (8-1).Following a positive test by starting defensive end Clelin Ferrell on Tuesday, seven more Raiders defensive players were put on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Wednesday – safety Johnathan Abram, defensive tackles Maliek Collins, Johnathan Hankins and Kendal Vickers, defensive back Isaiah Johnson, defensive end Arden Key and practice squad defensive end David Irving.They join safety Lamarcus Joyner, previously identified as a close contact of Ferrell, Brown and linebacker Cory Littleton, who was placed on the list last week.Ferrell is likely out for Sunday night’s game as is Brown, who isn’t expected back until next week. But the other players will be eligible to play Sunday, as long as they continue to test negative.One big problem for Jon Gruden and company: Those players will be limited to virtual practices and meetings until then and won’t be allowed on the practice field together. Not exactly the best way to get your defense prepared for reigning Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes and company.Gruden bristled Wednesday during a conference call after the NFL Network reported that nearly his entire starting defense would be placed on the list.”I don’t know about the whole defense,” Gruden said. “I’m not going to get into what list anybody is on. We practiced today, and we’ll be ready for the game Sunday.”Kansas City, despite coming off its bye, has its own COVID-19 issues with both starting offensive tackles, Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz, as well as backup Martinas Rankin going on the COVID list earlier this week after being in close contact with someone who tested positive. All could play Sunday, barring a positive test result.