The Raiders cut Henry Ruggs on Tuesday night. The team announced the transaction, which comes shortly after the second-year wide receiver was arrested for his role in a fatal car accident Tuesday morning.
Ruggs is facing two felony charges for an accident that left a woman dead. Las Vegas police say that Ruggs was impaired when his Corvette crashed into another car and killed the driver of the other vehicle. The accident occurred just before 4am in a residential neighborhood west of the Las Vegas Strip. Ruggs and a passenger in his vehicle were hospitalized. Upon being released from a Las Vegas-area hospital Tuesday, Ruggs was booked at the Clark County Detention Center.
Authorities identified the victim as a 23-year-old woman. The collision caused the victim’s vehicle to burst into flames, killing the woman and her dog, according to ESPN.com. Ruggs faces charges of DUI resulting in death and reckless driving. The first charge carries a possible sentence of two to 20 years in prison. The second runs from probation to six years. Ruggs, 22, is due to appear in court Wednesday.
Ruggs and a female passenger in his Corvette suffered non-life-threatening injuries. The woman who was in Ruggs’ car remains hospitalized. Raiders players returned to the team’s Henderson, Nev., facility Monday, after their bye week, but had another day off Tuesday, according to ESPN.
Although players hit with felony charges are eligible for the commissioner’s exempt list, which keeps those players on teams’ rosters while legal matters play out, the Raiders acted swiftly to move on from Ruggs. This marks an abrupt end to Ruggs’ Raiders tenure, and the former Alabama standout’s NFL career is obviously in serious jeopardy. Ruggs will head to waivers, though that will almost certainly be irrelevant here. The Raiders have a clear path to voiding the remaining guarantees in Ruggs’ four-year, $16.67MM rookie contract. Ruggs’ deal was fully guaranteed.
Some Raiders staffers preferred Ruggs’ Alabama teammate, Jerry Jeudy in last year’s first round, but the team made Ruggs the first receiver drafted in 2020. Las Vegas drafted Ruggs with the 12th overall pick. The deep threat struggled as a rookie, catching 26 passes for 452 yards in 13 games. Ruggs had shown improvement to become a more consistent part of Las Vegas’ offense this season, having made 24 receptions for 469 yards and two touchdowns through seven games.
Las Vegas has fellow homegrown wideouts Hunter Renfrow and Bryan Edwards signed beyond 2021, with Darren Waller under c contract beyond this season as well. As of now, Zay Jones is set to step into Ruggs’ starting position, Vincent Bonsignore of the Las Vegas Review-Journal notes. The Ruggs exit certainly leaves a void in the AFC West-leading team’s passing attack, but Renfrow, Waller and Edwards each have posted yardage totals north of 300 this season. Ruggs exited Week 7 as the team’s leading receiver, however.