Updated December 21, 2020 - 6:50 pm
Raiders tight end Darren Waller has reached levels he never dreamed possible, particularly after being banished from the NFL and battling personal demons.
He achieved another goal that once seemed impossible Monday when he was named to his first Pro Bowl.
“It’s pretty unbelievable,” he said of being named one of two AFC tight ends. “I never thought anything like this would happen. This was never my goal, but to be here today is a blessing. I’m pretty speechless just reflecting on life and everything I’ve been through.”
Waller was one of two Raiders players named to the team, along with running back Josh Jacobs.
“Shoutout to Josh,” Waller said. “Well-deserved on his part. We’re more of an old-school team. Josh sets the tone for us offensively.”
The 2021 Pro Bowl was supposed to be played at Allegiant Stadium, but the league decided in October to make the event a virtual affair.
Waller is second among tight ends with 93 catches for 967 yards, picking up 504 yards after the reception.
Jacobs ranks third in the league in rushing attempts with 245 and sixth in yards at 907. He also ranks sixth with 10 rushing touchdowns.
Center Rodney Hudson, who had been selected three of the last four years, did not make the roster.
EA Sports and the NFL will host a series of celebrity games featuring celebrities and NFL players using the Pro Bowl rosters to compete in Madden NFL 21 matchups.
The Pro Bowl will return in its traditional form in 2022 and be played in Las Vegas.
Rosters were selected by the votes of fans, players and coaches, with each counting one-third toward the final results.
COVID-19 list grows
Safety Erik Harris was added to the reserve/COVID-19 list on Monday, making him the third member of the defensive backfield to hit the list since Friday.
Daryl Worley went on the list Friday, a day after making his 2020 debut with the team. Isaiah Johnson joined him on Sunday.
Johnson was injured during Thursday night’s game against the Chargers.
Back on the field
Playing a Thursday affair followed by a Saturday game has altered the Raiders’ schedule for the week.
After the extra off days, the team will return to the practice field on Tuesday.
It figures to be a day in which the Raiders find out the status of several injured players, starting with quarterback Derek Carr and his injured groin.
The defensive side of the ball has been ravaged by injuries as well.
Defensive end Clelin Ferrell (shoulder), cornerback Damon Arnette (concussion), safety Johnathan Abram (concussion), linebacker Nicholas Morrow (concussion) and cornerback Nevin Lawson (illness) all missed Thursday’s game against the Chargers.
In addition, the Raiders will get a better handle on the status of wide receivers Henry Ruggs, who missed Thursday’s game due to COVID-19, and Hunter Renfrow, who suffered a concussion against the Chargers. Backup running back Jalen Richard, who missed Thursday’s game with a sternum injury, could also be on target to return.
Playoff hopes dwindling
Sunday’s games did not turn out well for the Raiders’ fading hopes of making the postseason.
The Colts, Titans, Browns, Dolphins and Ravens all won their games, dropping the Raiders’ chances to around 1 percent.
According to the New York Times playoff probability calculator, those odds increase to about 4 percent should the Raiders win each of their final two games and finish 9-7.
There is no path to the postseason should they lose to either the Dolphins or Broncos.
Broadcast crew announced
The Raiders are set to make their fifth and final prime-time appearance on Saturday when they host the Dolphins, NFL Network announced Monday.
Hall of Fame quarterback Kurt Warner will provide the color commentary on the NFL Network broadcast, alongside play-by-play announcer Joe Davis.
Melissa Stark will be the sideline reporter for the game, which kicks off at 5:15 p.m.