Raiders

NFL rumors: Birmingham, Tucson partnering to host Raiders home games

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AP

NFL rumors: Birmingham, Tucson partnering to host Raiders home games

The Raiders' search for a home field for the 2019 NFL season just keeps getting weirder. Somehow, it's now turned to Alabama ... and Arizona. 

Both Birmingham, Ala., and Tucson, Ariz., reportedly are vying to partner as hosts for Raiders home games this season. 

Birmingham city councilor William Parker told AL.com that hosting the Raiders would be "a perfect marriage." 

“The fans in Alabama love football. Obviously, the people in San Francisco and Oakland don’t want them and there’s a fan base here for the Raiders,” Parker said, adding that he “got calls from a lot of citizens saying they’ve been Raiders fans since they were kids.”

Professional football returned to Birmingham on Sunday. The Birmingham Iron of the Alliance of American Football played their inaugural game at Legion Field, which holds over 71,000 people.

The Iron drew just 17,000 fans in their debut. 

[RELATED: Odds are in on where Raiders will play home games in 2019]

Stay tuned, you never know which city, or cities, will reportedly host the Raiders next before they head to Las Vegas in 2020.

NFL rumors: Antonio Brown's quest to wear preferred helmet hits a snag

NFL rumors: Antonio Brown's quest to wear preferred helmet hits a snag

Antonio Brown’s camp thought the superstar receiver’s quest to wear his preferred helmet was nearing its end.

Not so fast, apparently.

Brown wants to wear a Schutt Air Advantage helmet, a version of headgear he has worn, in one model or another, since high school. It has been discontinued and is more than 10 years old, making it ineligible for certification.

Brown was told he could use the Schutt Air Advantage if he could find one made less than 10 years ago. He would then have to get it re-conditioned and re-certified.

The star Raiders receiver crowd sourced his helmet search, and found some that were made more recently.

The NFL tested a helmet made in 2010 that Brown’s camp submitted and, according to Pro Football Talk, the helmet failed the test. Brown was reportedly told of the failure on Saturday. Brown also has one from 2014 that was certified by an independent body, but it has not yet been recently tested by the NFL.

PFT also reports that Brown will continue his quest to wear the helmet he prefers.

The receiver, who squashed all talk of retirement over this helmet issue, said Thursday night that he would work within the system to get a helmet that works for him.

[RELATED: Brown shows great retention during practice]

“I’m still trying helmets right now,” Brown said after the Raiders beat Arizona in their preseason game. “As long as the league certifies them, those are the ones I’m trying out. I’m trying out every one I have. There have been a lot of great fans sending helmets. I’m just following protocol, man. I’m just excited to be back. You’ll be seeing a lot of me here shortly. I’m just excited to be around my teammates in the building and reached the shared goals we’re here to achieve.”

Derek Carr, Raiders' frontline starters might be done playing in preseason

Derek Carr, Raiders' frontline starters might be done playing in preseason

NAPA – Derek Carr has said he doesn’t need much preseason work to prepare for games that actually count.

That’s a plus for the Raiders quarterback. One drive might be all he gets.

Head coach Jon Gruden said his surefire starters might be done playing in the preseason, even with two exhibitions left.

The preseason finale’s never played by major contributors. The third preseason game often represents the most extensive action starters see, but that might not be the case Thursday against the Green Bay Packers in Winnipeg at IG Field. The venue has artificial turf, and houses a CFL team and a professional soccer club, with both franchises currently in season.

“We’re looking into the surface that we’re playing on, and we’re not sure how much we’re going to play our starters,” Gruden said on Saturday. “We don’t have 22 starters in ink yet, either. There are going to be guys vying to become starters, but some of the frontline guys will be very limited in the next two weeks.”

That includes Carr, running back Josh Jacobs and receiver Antonio Brown, just returning after suffering frostbite on his feet. The starting Raiders offense was efficient in Thursday’s win over Arizona, quickly scoring a touchdown on its only drive. The top defense played four series and shut the Cardinals down, getting in quality work as a unit.

If the playing surface in Winnipeg is a cause for concern, expect Gruden to play it safe with his roster’s best.

Preserving health in the preseason was underscored by Friday news that the Chargers lost Derwin James for at least three months. The Raiders already are without right guard Gabe Jackson for the season’s first quarter at least. They don’t want to put any other big names at unnecessary risk.

There’s logic behind shutting Richie Incognito down in games, and backing him off some in first-team work. He has to serve a two-game suspension for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy, and the Raiders will start preparing his replacements for early-season action.

“We’ve seen him enough,” Gruden said. “He’s played enough football. I don’t think we need to see him pull on power anymore. I think he’s good.”

[RELATED: What has impressed Carr most about Raiders rookie Jaocbs]

Jonathan Cooper’s the front runner to play left guard at this stage, though Denzelle Good (back) came off the physically unable to perform list Saturday and will challenge Cooper if he can get ramped up over the preseason’s final few weeks.

“We’re going to ease him back in,” Gruden said. “That’s huge for us. With Gabe injury and Richie’s situation, it’s good to have Denzelle close to returning.”