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NFL’s Raiders cut 2020 first-rounder Arnette over social media post


By Josh Dubow

The Las Vegas Raiders waived 2020 first-round pick Damon Arnette and have now cut ties with both first-round picks from that draft before the midpoint of their second season because of off-field issues.

General manager Mike Mayock called it a “painful decision” to release Arnette on Monday but said it was necessary in response to a social media post with Arnette brandishing a gun and threatening to kill someone. Arnette was also being sued over a hit-and-run accident from 2020.

“There have been a series of bad decisions over the last year or so, but we can’t stand for the video of Damon with a gun threatening to take a life,” Mayock said. “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.”

Arnette was drafted 19th overall to be a starting cornerback with a pick acquired in the Khalil Mack trade despite what Mayock called “significant concerns” about his character. Arnette was rated lower on most draft rankings but the Raiders believed after talking to his coaches at Ohio State that they could develop him on and off the field.

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“Obviously in hindsight, we weren’t able to do it,” Mayock said. “I know a lot of people, including myself, we were all concerned about this, but at the time we thought it was an acceptable risk. Obviously, it’s painful on all levels.”

The move to cut Arnette comes less than a week after No. 12 overall pick Henry Ruggs III was released following a fatal DUI crash. Authorities said Ruggs was driving 156 mph with a blood-alcohol level twice the legal limit in Nevada. He faces multiple felonies and jail time if convicted.

Mayock defended the Raiders’ evaluation of character in the draft, saying the picks in the others years have been good character players and Arnette and Ruggs were aberrations.


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