Purdue receiver Rondale Moore won't play in season opener against Iowa
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue receiver Rondale Moore opted back in to play during the 2020 season.
However, Moore's season debut won't happen Saturday when the Boilermakers host Iowa at Ross-Ade Stadium.
Purdue announced Friday that Moore will not be available for the season opener. No additional information was available at the time of the press release.
Coach Jeff Brohm was asked about Moore's availability during Thursday's interview session with local media members.
"Just like with everybody, we don’t want to give any information out specifically until game day and then we’ll go from there," Brohm said.
Moore isn't expected to attend Saturday's game.
Purdue isn't void of receiving talent and will start the 2020 season in better shape than most teams when taking away a top playmaker. David Bell returns after earning Big Ten Freshman of the Year honors last season, picking up the contributions when Moore was sidelined.
Part of the appeal of Moore returning to the program was to see him play with Bell and the challenges they would present to defenses. The two were in the field for just 96 plays last season. Moore and Bell each won Big Ten Freshman of the Year and headline a talented receiving group.
Who replaces Moore is now the question. The Boilermakers are also without Jackson Anthrop, who suffered a shoulder injury during training camp and isn't expected back until midseason. Anthrop led the team in receptions during his redshirt freshman season in 2017.
Redshirt freshman TJ Sheffield is a candidate to step into the slot receiver role. He was on the travel roster for last year's opener at Nevada but suffered an injury after appearing in three games and catching two passes.
Brohm said Thursday up to six players could miss the opener due to injuries but didn't reveal names. Purdue will be without Brohm, who tested positive for the coronavirus last weekend and must remain in isolation. Brian Brohm, Jeff's younger brother, will serve as the acting head coach and take over the playcalling duties.
The talented Moore, who as a freshman, ignited the fan base and the nation with his electric plays, initially decided to bypass the season to prepare for next spring's NFL Draft. But when the Big Ten announced it would play this season - and provide daily antigen testing - Moore returned the program,
"For me, I think the whole decision behind me opting out was the uncertainty and to secure my safety and my mother’s safety," Moore said on ESPN in September. "It was important to me to dig deeper and find out some more information and hopefully, the Big Ten would come to terms and find a way to get things done and we would have a season.
"The Big Ten found a way to consistently test and have safety protocols that made me feel safe. I’ve decided to opt back in and play for the Boilers this season."
During the interview, Moore wanted to show NFL teams that "I'm the best receiver in America," but won't be on the field for the first game.
"I think it’s important for me to come back and compete and show what a competitor I am," Moore said in September. "I think it’s important for me to go out there with my teammates and fulfill the promise I made to them when I came here as a freshman and my coaches as well. I think for us it's to go win some games, have a chance to compete at a championship, go out there and do what we do. I'm excited."
Moore played in only four games last season due to a hamstring injury against Minnesota. It's unclear if the latest development is injury-related or for another reason.
Earlier this week, Purdue athletic director Mike Bobinski and Brohm both said no players have tested positive for COVID-19 since daily testing began on Sept. 30.
Mike Carmin covers Purdue sports for the Journal & Courier. Emai firstname.lastname@example.org and follow on Twitter @carmin_jc