Karl Joseph should’ve been the prominent Raiders story following the NFL Draft’s opening round. Earlier in the day, however, Mark Davis stole some of his headlines.
The team’s owner pledged to move from Oakland to Las Vegas should a stadium proposal get approved.
Such is life for the Raiders in 2016. Focus on football is occasionally stolen by relocation drama.
That soap opera is long running, while Davis tries to find a long-term stadium solution for his franchise. Davis has grown increasingly frustrated with progress on a new stadium in Oakland, which has allowed his mind to drift. Davis has flirted with San Antonio, considered a Chargers-less San Diego and formally applied for relocation to Los Angeles.
Las Vegas is Davis’ latest pursuit, and he’s offering $500 million ($200 million from an NFL loan) if a $1.4 billion stadium project in Sin City receives approval and public funding.
Head coach Jack Del Rio has the job of focusing his players solely on football. He has done that well since being hired early last year. And while players might want to lease, not buy homes in the East Bay, they are rooted in this community now.
The team went en masse to a Warriors playoff game on Monday. On Tuesday, a few players joined the Athletics’ pregame activities.
As a Hayward native, Del Rio wants to stay put. He doesn’t want his players distracted by Davis’ public quest to find a more permanent home.
“I’m an East Bay guy. I grew up here,” Del Rio said Thursday on SiriusXM NFL radio's "Movin' the Chains" show with Jim Miller and Pat Kirwan. “We love it here. We’re going to Warriors game and doing our thing (in the community). We are the Oakland Raiders right here, right now.
“I try to stay in the present, and I really don’t talk about (relocation). We know things are out there, but they don’t have anything to do with what we’re going to do on the field in 2016. We’re in a tunnel. We’re enjoying ourselves every day we go to work. Our guys light up this building with great energy, and we’re trying to be as good a team as we can be.