NFL monitors air quality in California ahead of three games after LA Rams cancel practice
The NFL is monitoring the impact that California's wildfires could potentially have on this weekend's Los Angeles Rams, Oakland Raiders and San Francisco 49ers home games.
"We are monitoring conditions in California and are in close communication with the clubs and local authorities," NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said. "At this point, both the Los Angeles Chargers-Oakland Raiders game and the Seattle Seahawks-Los Angeles Rams game will kick off as scheduled."
The 49ers are due to host the New York Giants on Monday night. On Friday evening, the league said it would relocate the game if there was definitive evidence the air quality index (AQI) will be consistently above 200 for a significant period of time.
The fires already prompted the Rams to cancel practice Friday and forced about 45 employees, including 20 players and coaches, to evacuate, reports said.
Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips and defensive line coach Bill Johnson were among those forced to leave their homes Friday. The Rams' employees evacuated from neighborhoods south of the Rams’ training complex in Thousand Oaks.
“I don’t think anybody’s house has been specifically affected, but they did have to leave the areas,” coach Sean McVay said. “It’s still a scary thing, and extremely unfortunate that they had to go through this. ... We just felt like the most important thing was for people to be with their families.”
The Rams (8-1) will cram their normal Friday preparations into a workout at the University of Southern California on Saturday before they face the Seahawks at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on Sunday.
“Our guys have always been able to adjust and adapt in a good way,” McVay said.
The Rams will hold meetings on Saturday at the team hotel, followed by a walk-through practice at the USC campus, according to the team's blog.
The team released a statement thanking the first responders who are "working tirelessly to keep us safe."
"Our hearts are with our neighbors in Los Angeles and Ventura counties during these devastating fires," the Rams said, adding that they were working with their "displaced Rams family members."
The two wildfires burning in Ventura and Los Angeles counties came a day after a Wednesday night shooting rampage that left 13 people dead less than five miles away from the Rams' Thousand Oaks training complex.
The Los Angeles football team will hold a moment of silence before Sunday’s game in honor of the 12 victims of the massacre at the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks.
“If anything, the last couple of days give you that perspective that we talked about (Thursday),” McVay said. “Most importantly is having our players and our organizational people be able to be the leaders of their family as they go through a little bit of adversity. ... I’m fortunate where I didn’t have to leave my house, but a lot of guys did.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.