HOUSTON -- Houston Texans players are being advised by the team not to leave the hotel and not to order room service during their trip to Mexico City for Monday night's game against the Oakland Raiders.
The game is part of the NFL's international series and the first NFL game in Mexico City since 2005.
The Associated Press was given a look at a memo distributed to the team on Wednesday that included a page of information concerning the trip to Mexico, including those two rules.
A section of the memo under the heading "safety" had a bullet point with: "DO NOT leave the hotel." It was followed by a line advising players to leave all "expensive jewelry at home," not to bring large sums of money and not to use ATMs.
A second section titled "health and performance" has basic tips like drinking only bottled water and avoiding the consumption of ice. It also warned: "Eat all meals in the meal room. DO NOT order room service" and "DO NOT eat outside of the team meal room."
The precautions the Texans have provided players are not uncommon for any foreigners traveling to Mexico. Executives visiting the city for business are often given the same warnings from their companies to avoid leaving their hotels without security.
The rule about room service could be related to a memo the NFL sent to its players earlier this year warning that some meat produced in China and Mexico may be contaminated with clenbuterol, a banned steroid. That memo, sent by the league office, said that consuming large quantities of meat while visiting those countries may result in a positive test for clenbuterol. The memo told the players to "please take caution if you decide to consume meat, and understand that you do so at your own risk."
Clenbuterol has been banned in Mexico as a growth enhancer for cattle but is suspected to still be in use there.
The Raiders did not receive such a memo, but several players said they would not eat room service while in Mexico.
"I always bring my own food anyway," Oakland defensive tackle Dan Williams said. "I'm on a strict diet so I have to watch what I eat. No room service for me. I can't afford to sneak and cheat."
The Raiders lured fullback Keith Smith away from Dallas in free agency. The Cowboys suddenly had a need at the position, and called a Raiders team with a surplus.
They wanted Jamize Olawale, a tough, faster-than-you-think blocking back with receiving skill.
A draft pick swap got it done.
The Raiders traded Olawale and the No. 192 overall pick to Dallas for the No. 173 overall selection. NFL Network first reported the news. The Dallas Morning News revealed trade details.
The Raiders didn’t have a fifth-round pick this year, but now have two after trading Olawale and WR Cordarrelle Patterson in combination with a glut of sixth-round selections. They still have four remaining.
Smith is more of a true blocking fullback Gruden sought. Olawale doesn’t fit that old school mold, but is a versatile player who can produce if used correctly. He has dealt with injuries in the recent past, which also may have been a knock against him.
This thins the running back room a bit, but more ball carriers will be jettisoned before the season starts.
The trade also saved $1.6 million in salary cap space, important for a team where every little bit counts this offseason.
Olawale returns to the team that originally signed him as an 2012 undrafted free agent. He was cut at preseason’s end, and picked up by Oakland. He enjoyed a productive tenure in silver and black, though he wasn’t used much by 2016 offensive coordinator Todd Downing.
The Raiders aren’t necessarily done in free agency. They have a little cap space left, and could look for another receiver or defensive lineman. Middle linebacker NaVorro Bowman remains on the open market, and the Raiders hope to have him back.
Raiders head coach Jon Gruden had a hand in drafting Josh Johnson a decade ago. The agile quarterback and Oakland native was a Tampa Bay’s fifth-round pick in 2008, Gruden’s last year as Buccaneers coach.
The pair will reunite in Johnson’s hometown. The well-traveled quarterback signed with the Raiders on Monday, the team announced.
Johnson will compete with Connor Cook to backup starter Derek Carr, and brings a veteran’s influence to the position group. It likely spells the end of EJ Manuel’s short tenure in silver and black. The strong-armed former first-round pick, who started one game last season, remains a free agent after a year with the Raiders.
This move should make Marshawn Lynch happy. He and Johnson are extremely close and together run the Family First Foundation, a charitable organization that does significant work for East Bay kids. Johnson and Lynch also played football together at Oakland Tech High.
Johnson has played 10 NFL teams prior to this Raiders stop, but hasn’t played in a regular-season game for some time.