Jack Del Rio insisted Friday that Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin‘s absence from practice this week had nothing to do with Ken Norton Jr.’s firing. Instead, the Raiders coach said the two players were given a “rest day” Wednesday.
“It’s something we do,” Del Rio said, via Matt Schneidman of The Mercury News. “It’s kind of a ‘[Charles] Woodson Wednesday.’ We did it a lot with Charles toward the end of his career. We’ve had good success with guys that have taken a heavy load, being smart with them on that Wednesday. So it’s just a rest day.”
Irvin is 30; Mack is 26.
Irvin had not missed a practice all season before this week, and Mack’s only missed practice came Sept. 6.
Del Rio, though, stuck to his story: The players day off had absolutely nothing to do with Norton’s dismissal.
“No. Not even in the slightest, really,” Del Rio said. “. . . We’re in good shape. The guys understand. It wasn’t anything personal.”
Irvin tweeted a one-word expletive in all caps after Norton was fired Friday, and both players have declined to comment on Norton’s departure.
Mack and Irvin both practiced in full Thursday and Friday.