This is the 24th year that Tom Flores has been eligible for enshrinement into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. It marked the first time the former Raiders quarterback, offensive coordinator and head coach was named a semifinalist.
Flores was ecstatic about that after years of frustration, and hoped the milestone would be “the catalyst to reaching the final 15.”
It has done exactly that.
Flores was included among the 15 modern-era finalists for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, a group formally announced Thursday afternoon.
The NFL’s first Latino head coach, who won two Super Bowls as a head coach and another as an offensive coordinator, is just one step away from earning a gold jacket.
The 48-person Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee will discuss the 15 modern-era finalists, two contributors and one senior’s committee nominee during a Feb. 2 meeting one day before the Super Bowl. No more than five modern-area finalists can be inducted in one year, so Flores will have some stiff competition for enshrinement.
The Raiders have worked to promoted Flores’ candidacy this year, especially after he was named a semifinalist. He’s a vital player in Raiders history, as a quarterback, assistant coach and head coach. He also was in charge of the Seattle Seahawks during some lean years, but he led the Raiders during a golden era.
Reaching the finals is a huge moment for Flores, and proof that voters are starting to acknowledge his role with the Raiders and in NFL history as a whole. It also shows respect for a man who broke barriers for Latino players and coaches while winning some of the biggest games in Raiders history.
The Raiders are continuing to cast a wide net in hopes of adding a veteran linebacker to what is a thing group right now.
On Tuesday, the Raiders are hosting Vontaze Burfict, NFL Media's Tom Pelissero reported. The veteran linebacker was cut by the Bengals on Monday, and has a long relationship with Oakland's defensive coordinator Paul Guenther.
Guenther served as Burfict's defensive coordinator in Cincinnati for four seasons from 2014-2017.
The 28-year-old Burfict has been in the spotlight for his multiple suspensions and acts of dirty play.. He's been suspended three times in his seven-year career, and missed the first four games last season due to violating the league's PED policy.
In 2018, Burfict played in seven games and finished with 33 tackles.
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The news comes one day after the Raiders reportedly hosted linebackers Manti Te'o and Aaron Lynch. The Raiders currently have a trio of Marquel Lee, Jason Cabinda and Tahir Whitehead to trot out as their linebackers.
Mike Mayock always will be associated with the NFL draft. So it should come as no surprise that the former NFL Network draft analyst had to be convinced to improve the Raiders through free agency and trades.
NBC Sports' Peter King spoke with the Raiders general manager over the weekend and wrote about what Mayock told him in his Football Morning In America column.
So I’ve known Mayock for some time, and when we spoke Saturday night, he sounded like the same driven prospect-knower I’ve come to rely on in the last few years. “I’ll be honest,” he said. “I never believed in big spending in free agency. For years, that is not where my head was. But Jon Gruden and I spent a long, long time examining our team. We had so many team needs. We figured, we can go out and spend a little money on several positions. Or this year, we can look at three, four, five, six guys who can make a difference on the field and, as importantly, in the locker room. If we can get the guys we want, we should do it. We find a way to get Antonio Brown, Tyrell Williams, J.J. Nelson at receiver. We get a tackle, Trent Brown, 25 years old, who doesn’t even know how good he can be, who was lock-down, shutout in the playoffs for New England. We got Rodney Hudson at center, with a good young tackle, Kolton Miller, as the other tackle. We can line up and compete right now offensively.”
With the signings of Trent Brown, Williams, Joyner, Jon Feliciano, Josh Mauro and Nelson, the Raiders added just over $40 million to their 2019 salary. When you add the nearly $15 million that Anotnio Brown will make in 2019, Oakland has added $55 million worth of players for the upcoming season.
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That definitely goes against Mayock's previous mindset. But as he's probably learning, you need veterans on the team in order to compete. And Gruden isn't about to throw away another year playing a bunch of rookies.