In an effort to impress upon their players the need to be on high-alert during this upcoming season due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Las Vegas Raiders deployed an attention-grabbing stunt during a Zoom meeting last week.
NFL Network's Mike Garafolo reported Wednesday on Inside Training Camp Live that players logged into a virtual meeting expecting to be greeted by head coach Jon Gruden only to see assistant head coach/special teams coordinator Rick Bisaccia instead. Bisaccia then informed the team that Gruden had tested positive for COVID-19 and currently was in the hospital.
Only Gruden had not tested positive and was not in the hospital.
"It wasn't a joke," Garafolo explained. "What it was was the team illustrating to the players that this could happen at any moment to anybody."
Garafolo added: "So, the point to the players was you've got to stay ready. Everybody has got to stay ready because this virus that Gruden himself said they want to crush could pop up and it doesn't discriminate. So this is something we could face some point in the season whether it's our head coach, our starting quarterback, whatever."
Players took the message "to heart" Garafolo was told.
Garafolo noted that the Raiders' Zoom came before news broke that Eagles coach Doug Pederson had tested positive for the novel coronavirus.