California wildfires have NFL mulling venue options for Oakland Raiders, Los Angeles Chargers

By The Sports Xchange  |  Oct. 12, 2017 at 9:55 PM
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Sunday's game between the Los Angeles Chargers and Oakland Raiders is still scheduled to be played in the Bay Area but NFL officials are studying contingency options as the wildfires north of Oakland continue to rage out of control.

The wildfires have killed at least 27 people through Thursday afternoon in the famous Northern California wine country and have also led to extremely poor air quality throughout the region.

"We continue to monitor air quality conditions in the Bay Area and are in close communication with both the Raiders and Chargers, as well as local authorities," NFL spokesman Michael Signora stated on Thursday. "At this point, the game remains scheduled for Sunday in Oakland."

The Raiders moved up practice on Thursday and eventually cut it short for the second straight day due to the air quality. Once again, some players wore masks under their facemasks during practice.

The Chargers and Raiders are scheduled to play each other again on Dec. 31 in Los Angeles, but trading home dates isn't an option because the StubHub Center in Carson isn't available this Sunday. The Los Angeles Galaxy of Major League Soccer have a home game.

One interesting city has emerged as a possibility -- San Diego. That city was home to the Chargers for 56 seasons before the club moved to Los Angeles following last season.

Aimee Faucett, the chief of staff for San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer, said the city is interested in hosting the game but hasn't been contacted by the NFL.

In 2003, when wildfires were scorching San Diego County, a contest between the Chargers and Miami Dolphins was moved to Tempe, Ariz.

The area currently being ravaged by fires is familiar to the Raiders because they hold training camp in Napa.

"My heart really goes out to the families," Oakland star quarterback Derek Carr said. "When something like that happens and then someone tells you what it really is, you just sit there and think you're fortunate, you're blessed. Our thoughts and prayers are with all the families that have lost houses, loved ones. That kind of stuff, that's real life. That's hard.

"Being 2-3 is not hard when we really think about it. Doing that kind of stuff, that's what's really hard. Our prayers are with them that they can have peace and encouragement."

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