Raiders

Cliff Branch, Raiders legend and former All-Pro receiver, dead at 71

Cliff Branch, Raiders legend and former All-Pro receiver, dead at 71

Legendary former Raiders wide receiver Cliff Branch died Saturday.

He was 71.

His cause of death was not immediately known, and the Raiders confirmed his passing in a tweet from owner Mark Davis.

“Cliff Branch touched the lives of generations of Raiders fans," the team said in a statement. "His loss leaves an eternal void for the Raiders Family, but his kindness and loving nature will be fondly remembered forever. Cliff’s on-field accomplishments are well documented and undeniably Hall of Fame worthy, but his friendship and smile are what the Raider Nation will always cherish.”

Branch was one of the NFL’s most dynamic receiving threats, and he spent his entire career with the Silver and Black. He was a three-time Super Bowl champion and a three-time All-Pro, and Branch also played in four Pro Bowls.

He finished an illustrious career with 501 receptions for 8,655 yards and 67 touchdowns, averaging an astonishing 17.3 yards per catch. Many consider his career worthy of induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

[RELATED: Branch on Hall of Fame bid, Raiders' golden age]

Branch was an energetic fun-loving personality who always was a fan favorite. He remained active with the Raiders after retiring in 1985, and developed an extremely close bond with Davis.

He was beloved among Raiders alumni, frequently at evens bridging former Raiders from different generations. 

The Raiders planned to use him prominently in their transition to Las Vegas relocation in 2020, as an ambassador of the team's brand. 

That was fitting, considering he was a constant during a Raiders golen era. He was vital to all three Super Bowl championships, quickly becoming a dominant vertical threat after then owner Al Davis drafted him in the fourth round of the 1972 NFL draft. The University of Colorado was a top track athlete in the 100 and 200 meters. He chose football instead, and used his signature speed to become a dominant deep threat cornerbacks couldn't cover down the field. He led the NFL with 1,092 yards and 13 touchdowns in 1974, the first of three straight All-Pro seasons. 

He remained a Raider his entire career, once averaging 24.2 yards per reception. He was always awesome in the playoffs, and remained a productive player at all times into his late 30s.  

Raiders injury report: Hunter Renfrow could return later this season

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USATSI

Raiders injury report: Hunter Renfrow could return later this season

ALAMEDA – Hunter Renfrow injured his ribs and punctured his lung during a Week 12 loss to the New York Jets, a scary situation that put the rest of his season in some jeopardy.

The Raiders couldn’t say for sure if he’d finish out his rookie season, where he made steady progress and ranked high among quarterback Derek Carr’s most reliable targets.

He didn’t play last week against Kansas City and won’t play Sunday against Tennessee at Oakland Coliseum, but could well come back down the stretch.

“We’re hopeful that he could return for the last game or two,” Raiders head coach Jon Gruden said. “We’re going to keep him on the active roster. We’ll do without him for another game or two, and we’re hoping to get him back for the Chargers game [in Week 16]. That’s on our wish list, our hope list right now for Hunter. We miss him.”

Renfrow wasn’t active on Wednesday, according to a practice estimation from the team. The Silver and Black conducted a walk-through session off-site, on a basketball court in Alameda to avoid inclement weather. The focus is teaching and the mental side of the game.

“We have made some adjustments to our roster, so we have gone inside to try to multiply our reps for a lot of people that we have to get ready to play,” Gruden said. “There are pros and cons to everything. I like to get a lot of reps in on Wednesday to teach the game plan and make sure they’re sound in their assignments. It’s not at the same speed, but it’s an important part of learning, especially the changes we have had at several positions.

“I think it has been beneficial. We’ll come out and run fast Thursday and Friday and get ready for the Titans.”

Running back Josh Jacobs was considered out on the team’s practice estimation with a shoulder injury. Right guard Trent Brown was considered a non-participant with a pectoral injury. He has been dealing with knee and ankle injuries in recent weeks.

[RELATED: Review-Journal: Should Raiders move on from Derek Carr?]

Raiders practice report

WEDNESDAY
Did not practice
WR Hunter Renfrow (rib)
RB Josh Jacobs (shoulder)
OT Trent Brown (pectoral)
LB Kyle Wilber (ankle)

Limited practice
C Rodney Hudson (ankle)
CB Lamarcus Joyner (hamstring)
RG Gabe Jackson (knee)

NOTE: The Raiders conducted a walk-through practice on Wednesday. Therefore, the participation report is an estimation.

Raiders' Derek Carr lauds Josh Jacobs' ability to play through pain

Raiders' Derek Carr lauds Josh Jacobs' ability to play through pain

ALAMEDA -- Josh Jacobs has been playing through pain. The Raiders running back has been limited for several practice weeks with a shoulder injury, but a visual posted on his Instagram Stories and Snapchat made it real.

He showed a photo of his shoulder iced and in a sling following his Snapchat post of a placard stating he fractured it way back in Week 7.

"His shoulder’s hurt. I didn’t know,” quarterback Derek Carr said with a smile.

Jacobs hasn’t missed a game -- he didn’t even miss a series after injuring the joint while trucking Green Bay’s Adrian Amos -- since that time and continues to violently run and produce at an efficient clip.

He exceeded 1,000 yards Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs, with his fifth 100-plus performance. Then it was right back to rest and rehab so he can play the Tennessee Titans on Sunday at Oakland Coliseum.

These efforts have impressed Raiders fans and teammates alike during a 2019 campaign where he’s a frontrunner to be Offensive Rookie of the Year.

[RELATEDReview-Journal: Should Raiders move on from Derek Carr?]

“When I have said that he’s special, I’m including things like that, which I knew about and you all didn’t,” Carr said. Everybody is playing with some ailment at this point, and I’m sure it’s all listed on the injury report. Josh is special because football means a lot to him.

“I have been around people before who have had injuries where I think, ‘I wish they would’ve played through that.’ If Josh wasn’t able to play, I would completely understand considering what he’s dealing with. That he keeps suiting up and going out there and running with the style he runs with -- I don’t think enough can be said about that guy.”