Del Rio: According to Lynch, he's always sat during national anthem

Del Rio: According to Lynch, he's always sat during national anthem

GLENDALE, Ariz. – Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch sat during the national anthem before Saturday’s preseason game at Arizona.

Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio didn’t know he was going to do that. The two discussed it afterward and came to an understanding.

Del Rio prefers his players stand at attention for the national anthem, a view he expressed after former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick kneeled during the song protesting racial inequality and police brutality against minorities.

Lynch told Del Rio he has been sitting forever.

“I talked to Marshawn to make sure we’re on the same page,” Del Rio said after a 20-10 loss to the Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. “He said, ‘This is something I’ve done for 11 years. It’s not a form of anything other than me being myself.’ I said, 'So you understand how I feel, I very strongly believe in standing for the national anthem, but I will respect you as a man. You do your thing.’ So it’s a non-issue for me.”

Several media outlets photographed Lynch sitting on a cooler, munching on a banana during the national anthem.

The issue was polarizing when Kaepernick protested last year and was joined by several players across the country. Raiders linebackers Bruce Irvin and Malcolm Smith joined in early last year, by standing through the anthem with a raised fist before a game at Tennessee.

Lynch sitting down was immediately lumped in with those incidents. Lynch voiced support for Kaepernick while speaking to talk-show host Conan O’Brien last year, and Saturday’s sit-down came right after racially-motivated protests and violence recently took place in Charlottesville, Va.

Lynch did not clarify why he generally sits during the national anthem, as he told Del Rio. He left the Raiders locker room before it was open to the media. He did not speak with the press.

Raiders give Trayvon Mullen first crack at Gareon Conley's starting spot


Raiders give Trayvon Mullen first crack at Gareon Conley's starting spot

ALAMEDA – Gareon Conley is no longer a Raider. The 2017 first-round pick was traded to the Houston Texans for a third-round pick on Monday, a day after he played 97 percent of Raiders defensive snaps in a 42-24 loss to the Green Bay Packers.

Somebody else will have to anchor one outside cornerback moving forward.

Trayon Mullen will take over Conley’s spot. This year’s second-round draft pick will get first crack at the job vacancy, though the Raiders have other options on the roster.

“Trayvon is progressively improving,” Raiders head coach Jon Gruden said. “The only way to get these guys ready for primetime is to put them out there. We like the progress he has made. That’s why we took him at the top of the second round. We really like Isaiah Johnson and the way he looked last week on the practice field and Nevin Lawson has started 50 games. Throw in Keisean Nixon and we’ve got some guys we want to take a look at.

“We’re going to try to get Trayvon ready to go.”

Mullen will take over Sunday when the Raiders face Houston, with Conley awkwardly on the other sideline.

Mullen hasn’t played much this season, just 14 defensive snaps over the last three games and 78 in total this season. His professional career didn’t start with a bang, as he gave up three catches for 27 yards and a long touchdown against Denver. He hasn’t seen the field much since, though he worked 27 snaps in a Week 2 loss to Kansas City before his workload dropped precipitously.

Gruden knows will be an offensive focal point in coming weeks, until he proves he belongs.

“He's going to get targeted quite a bit, like all rookie cornerbacks,” Gruden said. ”It’s part of the process. I know he was in a tough spot opening night against Denver, but I have seen day-to-day concentration. I’ve seen day-to-day competitiveness and gradual improvement. He’s a guy who has a lot of confidence.”

The Raiders loved Mullen coming out of Clemson. He has the physical skills to play aggressive press-man coverage, with speed and range and ball skills required to succeed in Paul Guenther’s system. They would’ve gladly taken him at No. 35 overall but were able to trade down a few times and still land him at No. 40.

Mullen wasn’t targeted much at Clemson but was strong in big games and a complete player coming into the draft after his junior year.

The Raiders also took Isaiah Johnson in the fourth round, though he will spent the first eight games on injured reserve before an expected return in Week 10 against the L.A. Chargers.

Johnson will be in the defensive mix if he proves ready. Mullen has the first opportunity, and that starts now as we head into towards midseason.

“He has size and he’s young,” Gruden said. “He’s still raw and still has some green to him. He’s a great kid and a great competitor. He has change of direction. He’s tough. He has a lot of pride He has big upside.

“I feel the same way about Isaiah. These guys need to get on the grass and play. I’ll take responsibility for how that goes, but I have their backs. I have a lot of confidence in them. I want to see them go out there and deal with some of the best receivers in football.”

Source: Raiders trade cornerback Gareon Conley to Texans for draft pick

Source: Raiders trade cornerback Gareon Conley to Texans for draft pick

You know the old adage, always sell before you buy.

The Raiders reportedly were expected to be buyers at the NFL trade deadline, but the Silver and Black made a shocking move Monday in the other direction. The Raiders traded cornerback Gareon Conley to the Houston Texans for a third-round draft pick, a source confirmed to NBC Sports California's Scott Bair.

Vic Tafur of The Athletic was the first to report the move.

Conley was drafted by the Raiders in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft. Coming out of Ohio State, Conley was projected to be a top-10 pick, but he dropped to No. 24 overall due to assault allegations that were later proven false and the Raiders quickly snapped him up.

The 24-year-old cornerback had shown flashes of promise during his time in Oakland, but in the end, Conley was not drafted by the current regime. Head coach Jon Gruden and general manager Mike Mayock saw a way to recoup a third-round draft pick they lost for nothing in the Antonio Brown trade and did it.

[RELATED: 49ers, Raiders stand pat in NFL power rankings]

Clemson rookie Trayvon Mullen likely will step into Conley's role opposite Daryl Worley.

The Raiders' defense was torched Sunday, as Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers threw for 429 yards and five touchdowns in a 42-24 evisceration of Conley and the secondary at Lambeau Field. Conley has not played well this season and has been hurt by the Raiders' lack of pass rush. He has the tools to be a good cornerback in the league, but he didn't put it together in Oakland.

The Raiders will play Conley and the Texans this week in Houston.