Raiders Cut First-Round Pick Damon Arnette for Leaked Death-Threat Video

Las Vegas selected the second-year quarterback in the first round of the 2020 draft after taking Henry Ruggs III

Former Las Vegas Raiders cornerback Damon Arnette walks off the field
Former Las Vegas Raiders cornerback Damon Arnette walks off the field in 2020.
Chris Unger/Getty

Less than a week after cutting 2020 first-round pick Henry Ruggs III for his involvement in a fatal car crash while allegedly driving under the influence with a BAC level more than twice the legal limit while in possession of a firearm, the Las Vegas Raiders have released the player they selected after him in the first round of last April’s draft.

Drafted at No. 19 overall out of Ohio State after Ruggs was selected out of Alabama at No. 12, cornerback Damon Arnette was waived by Las Vegas after a video surfaced this weekend of the 25-year-old making death threats while brandishing firearms. On injured reserve since October 9, Arnette was also facing lawsuits stemming from a car accident in Vegas last October.

In a conference call, Raiders general manager Mike Mayock called the release of Arnette a “very painful decision” and said he believes the young defensive back is “a very talented young man with a good heart” who “can make a living in the NFL,” but “not now, with the Raiders.”

“We spent significant time, effort and resources trying to help him in all aspects of his life,” Mayock said. “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.”

Prior to his release from the Raiders, Ruggs has 24 catches for 469 yards and two touchdowns this season. Arnette played in just 13 games (with seven starts) since the start of last season and had three total passes defended and 29 tackles.

Initially charged with felony driving under the influence resulting in death and reckless driving, Ruggs is now facing more than 50 years in prison after being hit with additional felony counts of DUI and reckless driving due to the injuries suffered by his passenger as well as a misdemeanor charge of possession of a firearm while under the influence. Arnette, as of this writing, has not been charged with anything in relation to the leaked videos.

Now at 5-3 following a loss to the Giants on Sunday, Las Vegas will host Kansas City for Sunday Night Football in Week 10.

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