Marshawn Lynch always will be big brother to Raiders, Seahawks


Marshawn Lynch always will be big brother to Raiders, Seahawks

ALAMEDA – Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch left Seattle with a tweet. A pair of neon green shoes hung over a utility wire, with a peace out emoji under the illustration.

And, just like that, BeastMode was retired. He spent the year doing Marshawn things, globetrotting and building a brand and giving back to his native Oakland.

He has said he didn’t miss football, but he returned just the same. He didn’t go back to Seattle, which technically held his rights. He orchestrated a trade to play for his hometown Raiders starting in 2017.

Lynch's first regular-season game against his old team comes Sunday in London – there have been preseason affairs where Lynch didn’t play – but odds of hearing how he feels about it are slim.

Lynch rarely speaks to the press. Waxing philosophic about the old days wouldn’t likely be a thing even if he did. Maybe it’s a huge deal. Maybe he hasn’t given it a moment’s thought. Or maybe the London-ness of this affair takes the fun out of it.

It is, however, cause to discuss Lynch’s good ol’ days and how he remains effective at age 32. He’s in a few Seattle newspapers today, and he has been brought up in most every press interaction advancing this game in the East Bay and Pacific Northwest.

There are a few common themes.

Lynch runs hard as heck, as violent as ever. He’s beloved by both sides, including the Seahawks locker room after he abruptly retired. He may not shout into microphones, but he’s fiercely loyal and leads by example.

“He is a great teammate,” quarterback Derek Carr said. “I haven’t met a player, someone in Seattle, Buffalo, here, anyone that’s been with him that didn’t like him as a teammate. He’s a great, great teammate. If you ever need anything for some kids or you ever need someone to be there for something, he’s always there.”

Lynch has that reputation here in Oakland, where he’d win the mayor’s office in a landslide. Oakland loves Lynch, who represents The Town as well as anyone, and devoted time and resources to its improvement.

He meant a great deal to Seattle and his Seahawks teammates, and that started by being genuine.

“I mean, we loved it,” Baldwin told reporters, via the News Tribune in Tacoma, Wash. “He was beloved in this locker room because of that.

“He would speak how he felt. If he was wrong, he would come back and apologize to the people that he wronged. But for the most part, you respected the man because he was who he was. He didn’t try to act like something he wasn’t. He didn’t pretend with you guys in the media then come back into the locker room and act differently. He was who he was consistently, throughout and throughout.”

Lynch was a consistently powerful runner during Seattle’s glory days, when he exceeded 1,200 yards in four straight seasons. He might not hit that plateau this season, but he’s running as hard and violent now as he was then.

When given the opportunity to establish a rhythm, Lynch has been good and far better than he was a year ago. Take the Week 4 victory over Cleveland as an example. He broke 11 tackles on 20 carries earning 130 yards. He was vintage Marshawn, running through and over people for extra yards.

“I think he looks really, very much the same,” Seattle head coach Pete Carroll said in a conference call with Raiders reporters. “I really like the way he is playing. I mean last year and this year. He looks in the same style, in the same mode, aggressive and explosive. He’s averaging over four yards a carry. I think he’s doing pretty good.

“I think he has done a remarkable job of maintaining his fitness. I remarked to him when I saw him the first time he came back around, he was getting going in preseason or whatever, just how fit he was. I don’t know what he’s doing but I would attribute that to he’s really been diligent about maintaining his health and well-being and all.”

The Seahawks are running well recently, but that doesn’t mean they’ve found another Lynch. He didn’t seem to leave on great terms with the organization, but there’s plenty of affection for him in that franchise.

“It’s football,” Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin said. “I mean, I’m looking at all of you, right. You all make a big deal out of football. But truth be told, at the end of the day, when we are on our deathbeds, football means nothing. Right? It really means nothing at the end of the day.

It doesn’t matter how many ... like, I was talking to K.J. (Wright) about this earlier today: I don’t care how many tackles he makes, or how many interceptions he has. I want to know, is he a good husband. Is he a good father to his children? Those are the most important things. “So, honestly, don’t really care how it ended. Because I know the man. My relationship with Marshawn, and his relationship with guys he’s spent time with in this locker room, that doesn’t change — no matter if he’s in a different uniform, if he’s in a different country, doesn’t matter.

“He’s still Marshawn. He’s still our brother.”

Key Raiders preseason dates, including HBO's 'Hard Knocks' episodes


Key Raiders preseason dates, including HBO's 'Hard Knocks' episodes

The Raiders have an interesting preseason ahead. They have three exhibition games on the road, including one in Canada. They’re headed to Napa for camp, which is possibly, though ultimately uncertain, the last time they will train in Wine Country, with their Las Vegas relocation scheduled for next year.

They have personalities to spare on this unit, which must bond to improve on last year’s 4-12 disappointment. They’ll do so under NFL Films’ watchful eye, with cameras everywhere filming this season’s HBO documentary series “Hard Knocks.”

[RELATED: Raiders mailbag: Defense still clearly behind offense]

Their training camp schedule hasn’t been made official, but Monday’s announcement of report dates gives the preseason some shape.

Here are key dates for the Raiders' summer plans:

As a note, Raiders training camp practices are only open to season-ticket holders and guests by invite only.

Tuesday, July 23: Rookies, first-year players, recently rehabilitating veterans and quarterbacks report for training camp in Napa.
Friday, July 26: Veterans report for training camp in Napa
Saturday, July 27: First full-squad training camp practice.
Monday, July 29: First padded practice in training camp
Tuesday, Aug. 6: “Hard Knocks” with the Raiders premieres at 10 p.m. on HBO
Wednesday, Aug. 7-8: Raiders host joint training camp practices with Los Angeles Rams in Napa
Saturday, Aug. 10: Exhibition opener vs. LA Rams at Oakland Coliseum
Tuesday, Aug. 13: Second episode of “Hard Knocks” airs at 10 p.m. on HBO
Thursday, Aug. 15: Exhibition No. 2 at Arizona Cardinals, 5 p.m. (ESPN)
Tuesday, Aug. 20: Third episode of “Hard Knocks” airs at 10 p.m. on HBO
Thursday, Aug. 22: Exhibition No. 3 vs. Green Bay Packers at IG Field in Winnipeg, 5 p.m. (Bay: KTVU; Vegas KVVU)
Thursday, Aug. 27: Fourth episode of “Hard Knocks” airs at 10 p.m. on HBO
Thursday, Aug. 29: Exhibition No. 4: Aug. 29: Exhibition No. 4 at Seattle Seahawks, 7 p.m. (Bay: KTVU; Vegas KVVU)
Saturday, Aug. 31: Rosters must be decreased from 90 players to the 53-man limit by 1 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 1: Claiming period ends for waived roster cuts at 9 a.m.
Sunday, Sept. 1: Teams may formally sign a 10-man practice squad
Tuesday Sept. 3: Final episode of “Hard Knocks” airs at 10 p.m. on HBO

Raiders will conduct joint training camp practices with Rams in Napa


Raiders will conduct joint training camp practices with Rams in Napa

The Raiders and L.A. Rams have agreed to conduct joint training camp practices on Aug. 7-8 in Napa, the Silver and Black announced on Monday.

Adding to the storylines the “Hard Knocks” producers have to follow, now the Raiders and juggernaut Rams will square off for two days of physical work prior to the Aug. 10 preseason opener for both teams at Oakland Coliseum. 

Raiders head coach Jon Gruden and Rams counterpart Sean McVay are old family friends -- McVay also once worked on Gruden’s staff in Tampa Bay -- so the dynamic between the two quote machines should provide TV gold. As if there wasn’t enough to be mined from Antonio Brown, Vontaze Burfict, Richie Incognito and Derek Carr and a team moving to Las Vegas next year already.

These Raiders-Rams practices have been in the works for some time, and will mark the second straight year the Raiders are hosting these workouts in Napa. They practiced against the Lions last year, which proved incredibly productive.

[RELATED: Raiders Mailbag: Defense clearly still well behind offense]

The NFL also announced training camp report dates on Monday. Raiders rookies report to camp on July 23, with veterans due in Napa by July 26. The first full-squad practice is the 27th, with padded sessions a few days after that.