Raiders expect 'great atmosphere' in possible last game in Oakland

Raiders expect 'great atmosphere' in possible last game in Oakland

Derek Carr has plenty of great memories playing at Oakland Coliseum.

The Raiders' starting quarterback has orchestrated several fourth-quarter comebacks on this hallowed ground, including a win over the Kansas City Chiefs on an untimed down. His first fourth-quarter comeback doubled as his first professional victory, and it snapped a 10-game losing streak.

Carr has led nine come-from-behind victories at the Coliseum, and he wants to put on another show Monday night against the Denver Broncos in what could be the last Raiders game at the old stadium.

No matter where the Raiders go in the future, a yet-to-be-decided location next season or to a brand-new Las Vegas stadium in 2020, the outdated Oakland venue always will be important to Carr.

“It may not be perfect and to everyone’s standards or anything like that, but it’s home,” he said. “This is where I was drafted. This is where I have some of my favorite memories.”

One of his worst moments (professionally) happened on the same ground. Carr broke his fibula on Christmas Eve 2016, ending an NFL MVP-type campaign and eliminating the Raiders’ legitimate hopes of a deep playoff run.

Even that moment, when Carr knew right away that his leg was badly broken, came with a unique Coliseum spin.

Carr couldn't reach the Coliseum X-ray room to confirm the break from the field level, so he had to be carted out of the stadium, through the fans, into the parking lot and back around to an easier X-ray machine access point. Carr’s inner eternal optimist even found a silver lining in that no good, very bad day.

“Even when I got hurt, that’s still a moment for me that I’ll never forget, just the love that the fans would show,” Carr said. “We were driving on the outside of the stadium to find the X-ray machine because there’s no way straight up to the locker room, driving through the fans. Those are things that I’ll never forget.”

While players typically try to avoid discussing non-game-related distractions, the Raiders' locker room has openly discussed the prospect of Monday being their final game in Oakland.

“That’s weird to me, this is home,” Carr said. “I was drafted here, I’ve played on this dirt, I’ve got a lot of blood, sweat and tears, broke bones out there, won some great games, had some memories. It’s weird to think that this could possibly be the last game.

"I don’t want that, I know I don’t. I know our fans don’t. But the fact that it could possibly be, I think that it’s going to be a great atmosphere.”

The team’s lease with the venue expires after this season, and while the Raiders had long hoped to stay put for one more year, a stick was thrown into the spokes.

The city of Oakland is suing the Raiders and the NFL for antitrust regulations and breach of contract, so the Silver and Black pulled a lease offer to play 2019 at the Coliseum before moving to Las Vegas the next year. While staying at the Coliseum hasn’t been ruled out as a possibility, the team is actively searching for another venue.

Leaving this one will have its benefits. There will be no more infield dirt in the fall (unless they move to AT&T Park next year) and awful turf in the winter, no more possums under the stands, skunks in the concourse, mice near the press box soda fountain or X-ray machines that are hard to reach. There will be no more random floods or roof leaks, but …

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The team also will be further away from a venue steeped in proud Raiders history, surrounded by a rabid, passionate fan base that treats each game like Mardi Gras.

“That crowd is easy to feed off of,” linebacker Nicholas Morrow said. “When we’re going good, that place is just awesome. I get chills just thinking about it. It’s a totally unique place to play, and I love it.”

Doug Martin was born in Oakland and grew up in Stockton. The veteran running back was raised a Raiders fan, and has sat in the stands cheering on the Silver and Black. If this is the last Raiders game in Oakland, he wants to send the fans away on a high note.

“Our goal is to finish strong, especially for Oakland and the fans that support us here,” Martin said. “… I was born in Oakland, and I know how much this team means to the community. That’s why it’s so important that we finish strong.”

Raiders sign cornerback Nevin Lawson to one-year contract extension


Raiders sign cornerback Nevin Lawson to one-year contract extension

The Raiders officially became property of Las Vegas on Wednesday, and the Silver and Black made their first official move as Sin City residents Thursday. 

The team announced they signed cornerback Nevin Lawson to a one-year contract extension. After joining the Raiders last offseason, Lawson made five starts and played in 11 games for the Raiders, seeing a bulk of his time in the latter stages of the season when Daryl Worley and Lamarcus Joyner were banged up. 

Lawson will enter next season serving a one-game suspension. The Utah State product was ejected late in the Raiders' Week 17 loss to the Denver Broncos and was given a punishment for using his helmet as a weapon.

[RELATED: Raiders can fill many holes with Senior Bowl prospects]

After opening the season 6-4, the Raiders, overcome by injuries and lack of talent, limped to a 1-5 finish to end the season at 7-9.

With the litany of issues the Silver and Black faced in 2019, 7-9 should be viewed as a good record for a team that relied on a dynamic rookie class.

There are a lot of reasons for the Raiders to believe the future is bright, and they hope Lawson is a part of it.

Las Vegas Raiders formally announce name change, dropping Oakland


Las Vegas Raiders formally announce name change, dropping Oakland

The Raiders started scrubbing Oakland from their name a few weeks back. Taking the city’s name off social media accounts was the most public step. Then, the team removed the word from the top of their Alameda training facility, where the organization will conduct business into July.

There were some legal maneuverings already in the works, and all that was a prelude to Wednesday's announcement.

The Silver and Black’s affiliation has formally changed: They are now the Las Vegas Raiders.

We all knew that was going to happen. The team applied for relocation to Las Vegas and the league approved it with a 31-1 vote back in March 2017. The Raiders remained in Oakland, with that name attached, for three seasons while their state-of-the-art stadium was being built just off the Las Vegas Strip.

On Wednesday afternoon, in front of the in-construction Allegiant Stadium, Nevada governor Steve Sisolak formally announced their new name. The announcement was made with owner Mark Davis, team president Marc Badain and several players in attendance, including quarterback Derek Carr, right tackle Trent Brown and tight end Darren Waller.

"The Raiders were born in Oakland and played 13 seasons in LA," Davis said. "Both cities will always be part of our DNA. But today, we begin a new chapter in our storied history. On Jan. 22, 2020, we are now the Las Vegas Raiders. And today, Las Vegas becomes our nation's capital."

[RELATED: Mayock confident Raiders' Vegas move will help in free agency]

The Raiders formally will move to Las Vegas after training camp in Napa, when their new training facility in nearby Henderson, Nev. will be complete.

The Silver and Black will execute free-agent signings, run the NFL draft and conduct their offseason program in Alameda. The team is scheduled to play in Las Vegas starting in the preseason.