With Bowman heading to Oakland, everyone ends up happy, unless...

With Bowman heading to Oakland, everyone ends up happy, unless...

NaVorro Bowman’s employment odyssey lasted three days, and he didn’t have to get his mailing address changed.

The one-year, $3 million deal he reportedly signed with Oakland Monday came after a fairly quiet weekend for all parties. It was an easy choice for him, since there is minimal disruption, and an easy choice for Oakland, which needs all the defensive expertise it can get and has players that Bowman’s diminishing speed cannot expose.

In other words, everyone ends up happy . . . unless Bowman suddenly improves to the point where John Lynch has some ‘splainin’ to do.

The Raiders and 49ers have often shared players, thus belying their often overblown rivalry. The convenience was too . . . well, convenient, and will not be in evidence once Las Vegas becomes an NFL city.

And lord known the Raiders need some new voices in a room that has seemingly gone stale as expectations start to brown into disappointment. Bowman brings an effervescence borne of deep playoff runs, without being too loud a voice in a room that needs to develop more permanent leadership.

As to how much any of this translates into improved defensive play, or just a better vibe coming from Oaktown, well, put it this way.

If Bowman can stanch that level of bleeding, he shouldn’t be playing, he should be an EMT.

But at least he won’t end his career with a sour meeting with the people who run his original team, and that must count for something.


To prove collusion, Colin Kaepernick better be able to provide the smoking gun


To prove collusion, Colin Kaepernick better be able to provide the smoking gun

The only thing you need to understand about Colin Kaepernick’s action against the NFL is this.

If he has paperwork proving that the owners conspired to keep him out of football, he wins. If he doesn’t, he almost certainly loses.

Oh, there’s a lot of gobbled-lawyerese in any court proceeding; that’s why lawyers lawyer.

But the fact is this: Kaepernick and/or his lawyers have to produce the smoking gun, as Marvin Miller did in the ‘80s collusion cases against Major League Baseball, In those, the owners conspired not to sign free agents, did so in writing, and got their hats blocked in court.

Then they did it again, and lost again. And then, clever fellows that they were, they did it a third time, and got caught once more.

Lesson learned: From that moment, collusion became a paperless enterprise. No smoke, no gun. No gun, no case. It couldn’t have been simpler.

Now you may try to apply logic like, “Brandon Weeden,” or “Brett Hundley,” or “the owners are . . .” And you may well be correct. In fact, you almost certainly are.

But being correct isn’t the same as proving it, and without proof, Kaepernick’s case is an excellent example of well-constructed circumstantial evidence that will amount to little. The bar for this is high, and like everything else in life, it requires receipts.

Therein lies Kaepernick’s problem. Unless, of course, he has the receipts – statements on tape, or written memoranda, or rogue texts. In that case, therein lies, the league’s problem.

It is hard to imagine that the 32 owners, with all the lawyers at their command, would be so stupid as to leave collectable evidence laying about, but that’s what people assumed in the ‘80s, too, and baseball had to pay $280 million for its carelessness.

Still, that isn’t way to bet. Barry Bonds filed a lawsuit along similar grounds when he couldn’t get work after being released by the Giants in 2007, and had no corroboration for what he suspected was a blackball against him for, well, for being Barry Bonds. So he lost.

And I suspect that is what we have here as well. Kaepernick’s suit risks nothing for him, as his NFL days are almost certainly over anyway, so he may as well have his day in court if not the field.

But if he has the goods and can present them coherently before a judge, we’ve got an entirely different game, and one more reminder that we are in bloodsport territory between owners and players now, and there are no rules.

Except that one about paperwork. That one never changes.

Need good news about Raiders and 49ers? The Warriors start on Tuesday

Need good news about Raiders and 49ers? The Warriors start on Tuesday

Well, that football season came and went pretty quickly.

As we enter Week 7 (and look in the rear view mirror at Weeks 1-6 with disdain and nausea), we have an 0-6 team in San Francisco shedding veterans and imitating the Los Angeles Chargers for their ability to vomit up close game, and a 2-4 team in Oakland which just lost a close game to the Chargers.

Hurray. The Warriors start Tuesday.

The 49ers lost again, this time in Washington, 26-24, and are now historically eliminated from the postseason, as only one 0-4 team – the 1992 Chargers – have ever reached the postseason. That is not a surprise, nor any enduring disappointment. The 49ers work hard and do not quit, but they are not yet qualified to figure out how to win – close or any other kind of games. They are in the process of de-building, which is stripping the house down to its studs and rebuilding, and losses like Sunday’s are well within acceptable norms.

But the Raiders also lost Sunday, at home to the ridiculous Chargers, 17-16, and their chances of making the playoffs are now a paltry 9.5 percent (it has happened 22 of 231 times since the season was extended to 16 games in 1978).

In other words, if you are a loyal front-runner, you have the Warriors and Stanford football. You have St. Mary’s basketball and Stanford women’s basketball. And then you’ve got a lot of hope-for-the-best, abandon-all-hope, and despair drinking.

This is not how it was plotted, of course. The Raiders were supposed to contend, and Marshawn Lynch was supposed to channel the powers of Oaktown in that pursuit. But no, they are currently tied for 29th in the overall standings, and Oakland’s power to effect change are in serious jeopardy.

Now they host Kansas City Thursday, whose attention to detail was re-inspired by losing at home to Pittsburgh. If the Raiders have the get-up-and-go Jack Del Rio keeps saying they do, the time for getting up and going has, well, damned near already passed.

But it helps get through the week at the water cooler, C.J. Beathard had a better quarterback rating than Derek Carr. Go have a fistfight in the lunch room over that.

And remember, the Warriors start Tuesday.