Karl Joseph will return for Raiders playoff opener in Houston

Karl Joseph will return for Raiders playoff opener in Houston

ALAMEDA – Raiders strong safety Karl Joseph missed four straight games with a toe injury. That streak will end on Saturday in Houston.

The first-round rookie said he’ll return for the playoff opener against the Texans, something vital with his position group weakened by Nate Allen’s concussion.

It’s uncertain whether Allen will play. The veteran filled in well during three-plus games in Joseph’s starting spot, but the young starter said he’s ready to return.

“It’s been a long time battling through the injury, but it’s the playoffs,” Joseph said. “It’s win or go home, and we also might be down a safety, so it’s time to go. I’m still not 100 (percent), but I want to play. I don’t want to wait too long and all of a sudden it’s the offseason.”

Joseph injured his toe in a Week 13 victory over Buffalo and was down an extended stretch.

“I never thought about how serious the injury could be until I actually had it myself,” Joseph said. "It’s a pretty hard injury. As a defensive back you use your feet for everything.”

Joseph started practicing in a limited capacity last week, with a playoff return as the ultimate goal.

“It was tough for me to not be on the field,” Joseph said. “I want to play every snaps. But I will say I’m feeling a lot better than I have in previous weeks. I definitely feel like I’m ready to play well.”

The Raiders held Joseph back to start the season while recovering from ACL surgery, but the West Virginia alum played well once he took over in Week 3.

“It has been tough coming off the ACL surgery and then battling through this injury I’ve had the last couple weeks,” Joseph said. “It’s been an up and down year, but one things is that we’ve been winning and now we’re in the playoffs. I’m grateful for that and happy I’ll have a chance to get back out there.”

Raiders owner Mark Davis thrilled Oakland Coliseum lease was approved

Raiders owner Mark Davis thrilled Oakland Coliseum lease was approved

PHOENIX – The Raiders will spend one more season in Oakland, the final stretch of a prolonged transition from the East Bay to Las Vegas.

It will happen at the Oakland Coliseum, after NFL owners unanimously approved a new lease agreement on Monday at the annual league meeting. It was the last of four approval votes to validate a pact to play 2019 in Oakland.

It brought owner Mark Davis great relief, which was written on his face while speaking with NBC Sports Bay Area in the Arizona Biltmore hotel’s main lobby.

“I won’t work out a stadium lease again in my lifetime,” Davis said with a smile.

His search for a place to play 2019 has been stressful. The Raiders abandoned negotiations with the Oakland Coliseum in December 2018, after Oakland sued the Raiders and the NFL for antitrust violations and breach of contract.

That sent the Raiders searching outside the market, into negotiations with the San Francisco Giants to play at Oracle Park and the undesirable Levi’s Stadium option. They all proved fruitless, sending the Raiders back to work out a deal with the Oakland Coliseum.

Now the Oakland Coliseum deal is done, including a 2020 option to account for unforeseen Las Vegas stadium delays. In short, there’s the clear path to Las Vegas.

Davis is happy to have a place to play until the Raiders debut in the Silver State.

“I think (Raiders president Marc Badain and Raiders general counsel Dan Ventrelle), with both hands tied behind their back, did a really admirable job working with the city (of Oakland) and getting a deal done under tough circumstances,” Davis said. “We’re ready to go.”

Despite pulling his Raiders up and leaving for Las Vegas, Davis still holds affection for the Raiders’ Bay Area fan base, and hopes to honor the team’s past before starting a new chapter in franchise history.

“The main thing here is that we get to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the AFL and the Raiders in the Bay Area, which I was hoping to do all along,” Davis said. “That’s going to be exciting.”

While he’ll look back on his team’s tradition in 2019, Davis is focused on the future and a rapidly progressing stadium in Las Vegas.

“I go by it and water it,” Davis said with a smile. “Then I come back a couple weeks later and it grows.”

[RELATED: Carr's status unchanged with Raiders]

While there have been minor delays, the new venue opening just off the Las Vegas Strip should be ready to host games in Aug. 2020. A state-of-the-art training facility is being built in nearby Henderson, Nevada, and that could be ready around June 2020.

Until then, however, the Raiders have a place to play in Oakland as this long transition comes to a close.

Antonio Brown appears to take shot at Steelers after Mike Tomlin's comments

Antonio Brown appears to take shot at Steelers after Mike Tomlin's comments

There's no love lost between Antonio Brown and the Pittsburgh Steelers. That much is clear.

By now you know the story. The star wide receiver wore out his welcome in the Steel City, demanding to be traded this offseason due to reported issues with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and head coach Mike Tomlin.

Brown got his wish and was traded to the Raiders on March 9, but that doesn't mean he's ready to let bygones be bygones, as the 30-year-old star fired off a cryptic tweet Monday afternoon that was pointed directly at Tomlin and the Steelers.

Confused? We'll explain.

Earlier Monday at the NFL owners meeting, Tomlin gave his first comments since the end of the Steelers' season and he had a few things to say about his former receiver and former running back Le'Veon Bell.

It was a rough offseason for Tomlin, who lost his star receiver and running back and will enter the 2019 season with an aging quarterback and middle of the road defense.

So it's easy to understand why he's a bit salty.

[RELATED: Raiders can benefit from chip on AB's shoulder]

As for Brown, he got exactly what he asked for when the Steelers traded him to Oakland. He got away from Roethlisberger, inked a new contract and the Raiders didn't have to give up the world to acquire the All-Pro receiver.

All that's left for Brown to do is make the Steelers regret the way things unfolded by putting up huge numbers for the Silver and Black in 2019.