- Covered Oakland Raiders for CSNBayArea.com and Sacramento Bee for eight years
- Member of Pro Football Writers Association
- Previously worked at Los Angeles Times, Las Vegas Review-Journal and Sports Illustrated
HENDERSON, Nev. — The Las Vegas Raiders have waived second-year cornerback Damon Arnette, a first-round pick in 2020, after video surfaced this weekend of Arnette making death threats while brandishing firearms.
Arnette, 25, had been on injured reserve since Oct. 9. He was also facing lawsuits stemming from a Las Vegas car accident last October.
“Very painful decision,” said Raiders general manager Mike Mayock in a conference call. “We spent significant time, effort and resources trying to help him in all aspects of his life.
“There have been a series of bad decisions over the last year or so, but we can’t stand, we cannot stand for the video of Damon with a gun, threatening to take a life. The content was unacceptable, contrary to our values and our owner Mark Davis has been very clear and very consistent that this is not how we will conduct ourselves in this community. The bottom line — the Raiders will not tolerate this type of behavior.”
Mayock added that he had talked with Arnette, his father and others in his life and “from my perspective, he’s a very talented young man with a good heart. He cleans up his life, I know he can make a living in the NFL. But not now, with the Raiders.”
A surprise selection at No. 19 overall out of Ohio State, Arnette played in just 13 games, with seven starts, since the start of last season and had three total passes defended and 29 tackles, 23 solo.
Mayock acknowledged there was “significant concern” over Arnette’s character coming out of college, but the Raiders felt they could help him on and off the field and knew the Ohio State coaching staff well enough to trust its advice and take on Arnette.
“At the time, we thought it was an acceptable risk … after doing more homework on Arnette than anybody we’ve done in the years I’ve been here. And obviously, we missed and that is 100% on me.”
Mayock was asked about the perception of young players in a 24-hour city like Las Vegas and said there are always conversations on how a player “fits” in a community.
“Can a country kid live in a big city, or vice versa? … We do have to be aware of Vegas. But my thing is this — in just about any mid- to big-sized city in the country, if you want to find trouble, you can find it. And our job is to find the kids that will get past that.”
The Raiders last week released receiver Henry Ruggs III in the wake of his deadly car crash that claimed the life of 23-year-old Tina Tintor and her dog and has Ruggs facing felony DUI resulting in death and reckless driving charges that carry a possible sentence of 46 years in prison.
Ruggs and Arnette were the Raiders’ two first-round picks in 2020.
They also had three third-round selections in running back Lynn Bowden Jr., who was traded away before the 2020 season began, receiver Bryan Edwards, who is a starter but had no catches on four targets Sunday in Las Vegas’ 23-16 loss at the New York Giants, and linebacker Tanner Muse, who spent his rookie season on IR and was waived before this season.
The Raiders’ two fourth-round selections that year — offensive lineman John Simpson, a starter at left guard, and cornerback Amik Robertson, who was a healthy scratch against the Giants.
Also Monday, Mayock confirmed the Raiders had signed DeSean Jackson, as the veteran wide receiver had indicated on Sunday.
“He signed his contract a little while ago. He’s a Raider. He’s kind of a Bay Area kid who went to Cal. He told us … in our Zoom call the other day he looked pretty good in the silver and black,” Mayock said.
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