California Wildfire Forces Rams to Cancel Friday's Practice, Raiders, 49ers Also Affected

Several California teams have been affected by the Woolsey wildfire in Southern California.
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The Los Angeles Rams canceled practice on Friday due to the Woolsey wildfire in Southern California that has forced the evacuation of some of the team's players, coaches and team personnel. 

"We just felt like the most important thing was for the guys to be with their families, their wives and their kids and be that support structure and do things the right way and not have them come in and be totally distracted like I know I would be if I was in their role," coach Sean McVay said Friday in a conference call.

McVay said his team's top priority was the safety of all individuals connected to the Rams' organization, many of whom live in Ventura and Los Angeles County communities impacted by the fire.

Approximately 45 people within the organization, including 20 players and coaches, were evacuated from their homes throughout Thursday night. Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips and offensive line coach Bill Johnson were among those to evacuate. 

The team issued a statement Friday night regarding the ongoing devastation and displacement.

"We are carefully monitoring the situation and are committed to taking an active role in helping rebuild and heal our community," the statement said. "Right now, we are working with our displaced Rams family members whose homes and lives are being impacted by the fires."

McVay added that the team will prepare for Sunday's game against the Seahawks as they would if they were playing a Thursday night game. They will hold a Saturday morning meeting at the team hotel in Los Angeles and an additional 75-minute practice on the University of Southern California campus. 

The Rams' practice facility at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks has been unaffected by the fire.

Los Angeles is set to play the Seattle Seahawks at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum on Sunday. Kickoff is set for 4:25 p.m. ET. The Coliseum is unlikely to be affected by the fires or the resulting poor air quality, but McVay listed several staff members who could be in contact with the NFL if it became an issue.

The Raiders and 49ers, who play the Giants on Monday night, were also affected by the wildfires. Oakland was limited to just a walkthrough, while San Francisco moved Friday's practice up an hour because of the effect the smoke was having on air quality. 

Raiders coach Jon Gruden said he "did not know" if the current conditions could affect Sunday's home game against the Chargers.

"I just hope that the fires go away," Gruden said. "I'm more concerned about a lot of people that are being impacted by this. We'll react to whatever the circumstances are [regarding the game]. Let's hope that, you know, this ends fast."

The NFL said Friday they are "monitoring conditions in California and are in close communication with the clubs and local authorities." As of Friday, all of Sunday's games are still scheduled to begin at their regularly scheduled times.