Le'Veon Bell sat out all of last season in a contract dispute with the Steelers, and he now has a new team. That team isn't the Raiders, but before the dynamic running back signed with the Jets in March, that looked like a legitimate possibility.
Of course, Bell did sign with the Jets, and a month later, Oakland selected running back Josh Jacobs with the No. 24 overall pick in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft. Jacobs figures to lead the Raiders' rushing attack this coming season, and if coach Jon Gruden has his way, the rookie will take after the veteran with whom the team reportedly flirted with just prior to his arrival.
On a sneak preview of Tuesday's season finale of "Hard Knocks," Gruden lauds Bell's standout ability with a play on words.
"The one thing I always loved about this guy is he'll ring your -- what?" Gruden asks aloud.
Bell was keeping an eye on the Raiders back in March, and it appears he still is, as he was quick to thank Gruden on Twitter.
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Certainly, Gruden and the Raiders would love nothing more than for Jacobs to act like Bell on the field. Off of it? Well, that's probably a different story.
The Raiders challenged for the playoffs last season, but if the data-driven Pro Football Focus player rankings are to be believed, Las Vegas’ new NFL team may struggle to do that again.
No Raiders made PFF’s top 50, but nine players from their three AFC West rivals were ranked.
Five of those were from the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs — quarterback Patrick Mahomes at No. 2, defensive tackle Chris Jones at No. 16, tight end Travis Kelce at No. 19, wide receiver Tyreek Hill at No. 22 and offensive tackle Mitchell Schwartz at No. 23.
It’s an old tradition that will carry on in the Raiders’ new Las Vegas location.
The Al Davis Memorial Torch will continue to be lit in honor of the late long-time team owner. It was debuted on Wednesday through the massive retractable lanai doors in the backdrop at Allegiant Stadium:
It’s a more updated version of the original torch, but the message remains the same. According to Raiders.com, that vision is “the fire that burns brightest in the Raiders’ organization is the will to win.” That was a quote by the late Davis and before every home game, fans pay tribute to him with a flick of the flame.
Former Raiders and celebrities have created the flame including Bay Area-native rapper MC Hammer, former Super Bowl-winning head coach John Madden, Marshawn Lynch and many, many more.
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Current owner Mark Davis admitted he was sweating a little bit on the construction of the 65,000-foot, $2 billion stadium amid the July 31 deadline.
But for now, at least a part of Al Davis will be there.
[RAIDERS TALK: Listen to the latest episode]