Current Las Vegas Raiders running back William Stanback is hoping COVID-19 doesn’t alter or hinder his NFL shot.
Stanback worked out for the Raiders, Chicago Bears, New England Patriots, Houston Texans and Tampa Bay Buccaneers in December and signed with Las Vegas in January. With rising coronavirus cases in the United States, and among NFL players, there seems to be doubt whether training camps and even the season could start on time.
“It will kind of kill me inside. I want to play football. This is what we’ve been doing for so long and where we want to be. If this doesn’t happen, dang, it sucks. I put in all this work. As soon as I feel I’m getting my foot in the door, it’s kind of blocked,” Stanback told Montreal Gazette reporter Herb Zurkowsky.
“I think this is going to be over with soon. I don’t think this is going to linger on for the entire year. We have to be smart when we’re outdoors. I just like to try and remain positive. I know there’s a lot of negativity going on in the world right now. I always try to figure out things in a positive way. I’m a positive person.”
Stanback rushed for 1,048 yards — third most in the CFL — and five touchdowns on 6.2 yards per carry with 33 catches for 329 yards in 14 games during the 2019 season. He was named a CFL all-star for his efforts. As a rookie in the three-down league, Stanback rushed 81 times for 539 yards (6.7 yards per carry) and caught 25 passes for 308 yards and two touchdowns.
After going unselected in the 2017 NFL draft, Green Bay inked Stanback to an undrafted free agent contract, but he was released near the end of training camp. The Hempstead, New York native used the CFL as a spring board for another NFL contract. Stanback received a $50,000 signing bonus which is an indication of the Raiders’ belief in the talented back.
“Them offering money up front showed me these guys are really interested in me. Everyone starts with the same opportunity. You go out there and perform at a high level and earn the trust from the coaching staff. That’s what I’ve always been about,” Stanback said.
“I do believe we’re going to have a season. I just feel like everybody’s got to stay safe, stay clean and just continue to stay positive. The Raiders have a strong belief we’ll have a season. And that’s what we’re preparing for.”
The Raiders’ 2019 first-round draft pick, Josh Jacobs is locked in as the main running back, but behind him it’s an open competition. That’s where Stanback could have a real chance to make the roster.