NFL shifts Raiders-Bucs game over virus-hit Vegas linemen

New York (AFP) –


A Covid-19 outbreak among the Las Vegas Raiders prompted the NFL to shift their Sunday game against Tampa Bay to an afternoon matchup instead of a night feature.

Vegas offensive right tackle Trent Brown tested positive for Covid-19 and the entire Raiders starting offensive line was sent home to self-isolate after being linked to Brown by contact tracing, with safety Jonathan Abram also quarantining.

With those players in danger of being unavailable Sunday to face Tom Brady's Buccaneers in a nationally televised night game, the league decided to change the schedule.

The Raiders-Buccaneers contest was moved to an afternoon game while the unbeaten Seattle Seahawks visit to Arizona was shifted to a Sunday night kickoff on national television.

"These decisions were made out of an abundance of caution to ensure that a game would be available for fans on Sunday Night Football," the NFL said in a statement.

The league hasn't given up on the Bucs and Raiders, saying, "We expect the Buccaneers-Raiders game to be played on Sunday afternoon," but the NFL isn't so sure they want to leave the game as the only one available in the time slot.

"Scheduling decisions are made to ensure the health and safety of players, coaches and game day personnel and in consultation with medical experts," the NFL statement said.

The Raiders would be able to bring up blockers from the practice squad, but the league has minimum numbers of offensive linemen needed in order for a team to be able to take the field.