McKenzie prefers Marshawn Lynch deal done before NFL draft


McKenzie prefers Marshawn Lynch deal done before NFL draft

ALAMEDA -- Marshawn Lynch remains retired, as he has been since the night of Super Bowl 50.

The Raiders have met with the powerful running back and Oakland native. They’ve discussed a new contract. There has been talk, no real action.

Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie hopes to see some soon. Within the next week, preferably.

The Raiders need help at running back, and the Raiders would like to know before the NFL draft begins if Lynch will provide it.

“At some point you’d like to know, and prior to the draft is that point,” McKenzie said Friday during a pre-draft press conference. “But our door is open and we’re not shutting the door until that time pretty much. But, who knows after that? We’re not going to ever say never. But the door is still open.”

Lynch talked football during an April 5 visit to team’s Alameda complex, and it seemed clear to the Raiders that he was ready to return to professional football.

“Every indication I got,” Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio said, “was that he was excited to play for the Oakland Raiders.”

That’s just one step in a long process of acquiring the soon-to-be 31-year old’s rights. They belong to the Seattle Seahawks, who have two seasons remaining on a contract that hasn’t tolled since Lynch retired after the 2015 season. He’s scheduled to make $9 million if he unretired, though the Raiders don’t want to pay that freight.

Seattle gave McKenzie permission to re-work Lynch’s deal, but an agreement has not been reached. If it eventually does, the Raiders likely would have to acquire Lynch in trade and then he would have to apply for reinstatement.

“It’s not just one little hurdle,” McKenzie said. “There are a lot of things that have to be done.”

This NFL draft class has several quality running backs who could be selected into the later rounds, but that need is largely negated if Lynch enters the fold with fellow rushers Jalen Richard or DeAndre Washington.

“I would like to have an answer (on Lynch’s status), but it’s not going to be an end-all,” McKenzie said. “If there’s a good back that we like…we’re not going to go out of our way to take a certain big back. We feel good about the young backs we have, we will.

“We’re trying to add impact players and whether it’s Marshawn or whoever, we’re going to do it.”

Derek Carr the main constant in a Raiders year of extreme change


Derek Carr the main constant in a Raiders year of extreme change

ALAMEDA – Raiders quarterback Derek Carr has occupied the same end-of-the row locker since becoming a Raider nearly five years ago. He did a quick count recently, and believes 27 different guys have used the stall next to him.

That isn’t official, but it proves a greater point.

The Raiders have undergone insane turnover in recent seasons.

“It’s crazy, man,” Carr said. “My brother (David Carr) warned me about stuff like this because he played for 12 years. I was like, ‘No, way man.’ When you get here it’s just rainbows and butterflies because you made it to the NFL. All of sudden you get new friends every year.”

That’s true every year, where fringe players and occasional free agents rotate out.

The last calendar year has been different. It has been extreme.

More than two-thirds of the roster is new, but the loss of star power has been more jarring than sheer numbers.

Jack Del Rio was fired and replaced by Jon Gruden last January. Khalil Mack was traded in September. Amari Cooper was traded in October. Bruce Irvin got cut in November. And Reggie McKenzie got fired on the second Monday in December.

Carr has dealt with a lot this season, and losing McKenzie struck a powerful blow.

“He drafted me and gave me my chance,” Carr said. “I had a good conversation with him after I found out the news. I sent him a long text and he sent me a long one back. It was special, man. Our relationship was special, and it always will be. You never saw anything that would make you think this would happen, but it is what it is. You wake up and you see it and are like, ‘Oh, man!’

“It’s a part of this and we are moving forward. He is someone I will always keep in contact with and in my message, I said, ‘Any success that I have, I hope you feel a part of it.”

Carr has been the one constant in the second Raiders rebuild since the quarterback was drafted in 2014. Gruden has torn the team down, and plans to build it back up with cap space and three first-round draft picks. Carr has learned how to weather all this change while keeping focus on the field.

“There has been a lot of turnover,” Carr said. “Not only in the last five years, but in the last 12 months. There has been a lot of turnover. A lot of different things; systems, players, obviously the GM, coaches. It just teaches you that you can’t control anything outside of what you can control. The best thing that you can do is show up every day and give it everything that you have because anything outside of that is out of your control.”

Raiders-Bengals injury report: Interior offensive line in bad shape


Raiders-Bengals injury report: Interior offensive line in bad shape

ALAMEDA – The Raiders offensive line has a huge problem heading into Sunday’s game at Cincinnati. Both offensive guard spots have been decimated by injury.

Kelechi Osemele and Gabe Jackson missed Wednesday’s practice with injury, and it’s possible both missed the Bengals game. Chief backup at both guard spots and center Jon Feliciano is now on injured reserve.

That doesn’t leave much flanking center Rodney Hudson, which is why Denver Kirkland and Cameron Hunt were signed. Hunt was brought in to be the backup center.

Kirkland will join Denzelle Good and Chaz Green in the mix to play guard if their frontline starters remain out.

“I know that both (Osemele and Jackson) are as tough as they come and if there’s a will, there’s a way,” head coach Jon Gruden said. “They have the will, I know that. We’ll just hope for the best. Like we’ve done at other positions on offense, we’ll have to rally around the next guy up.”

Gruden also lauded Jackson’s and Feliciano’s toughness, for finishing the game-winning drive against Pittsburgh despite significant injuries. Feliciano could barely walk down the stretch, and Jackson refused to burn a timeout late to give him time to recover from tremendous elbow pain.

The interior line, by far the line’s strength, is in bad shape and the Raiders must find ways to handle that setback against a tough Bengals front.

“It will be very challenging, especially against a good defense,” Carr said. “Their front, obviously we know they got good players. It just is what it is this year. Guys are hurt, guys are leaving the building and we are getting new guys in. It’s next man up, but just the mentality that coach Gruden and I have together is, however it unfolds we are going to give Cincinnati our best shot.”

Raiders practice report

Did not practice
G Gabe Jackson (elbow/ankle)
LG Kelechi Osemele (toe)
LB Kyle Wilber (hamstring)

Limited practice
C Rodney Hudson (ankle, knee)
DL Maurice Hurst (ankle)
WR Dwayne Harris (foot)
FB Keith Smith (calf)
CB Daryl Worley (shoulder)

Full practice
CB Gareon Conley (groin)

Bengals practice report

Did not practice
LB Vontaze Burfict (concussion)
DE Michael Johnson (concussion)
CB Dre Kirkpatrick (ankle)

Limited practice
OT Clint Boling (knee)
OT Cordy Glenn (back)
CB Tony McRae (concussion)
CB KeiVarae (finger)

Full practice
QB Jeff Driskel (right shoulder)
WR Alex Erickson (shoulder)