But Raiders coach Jack Del Rio said the two linebackers sitting out practice on the first full day new defensive coordinator John Pagano taking over had nothing to do with any anger over Ken Norton, Jr. being fired as defensive coordinator.
“Not even in the slightest, really,” Del Rio said Friday. “I understand where you could draw a wrong conclusion there but we’re in good shape. The guys understand. It wasn’t anything personal.”
On Tuesday, though, Irvin tweeted “BULLS----!” in the wake of Norton’s firing before saying a day later, “Nah, I ain’t talking, bruh. You know I ain’t talking about that today.”
Wednesday, Mack said, “I like to keep my thoughts private,” and has declined to speak to the media since.
Del Rio maintained he gave the players a day off this week as part of a bigger plan.
“That’s something we do,” Del Rio said. “It’s kind of a Woodson Wednesday. We did it a lot with Charles [Woodson], towards the end of his career. We’ve had good success with guys that have taken a heavy load, of being smart with them on that Wednesday. So, it’s just a rest day.”
It was the first day off from practice for Mack since the first week of the season, the first off day for Irvin all season.
The Raiders also have a somewhat strange development with receiver Johnny Holton. After leaving the game at Mexico City to be evaluated for a concussion in the first half on Sunday, Holton returned to play.
Holton then told a reporter after the loss to the New England Patriots that he had a concussion. Holton appeared on the Raiders injury report Wednesday with a concussion and sat out practice on Wednesday and Thursday but was limited on Friday and is listed as being questionable to play against the Denver Broncos on Sunday.
Del Rio said Holton’s initial injury against the Patriots was a scratch on an eye.
“That was what occurred there,” Del Rio said. “[Then] he came in this week and had some [concussion] symptoms so we put him into the protocol and he went through the protocol and I believe he’s in the final steps now of clearing. So if we get that final clearance, he’ll play, and If we don’t, he’ll be down.
“We anticipate having him.”