Raiders

Son of Raiders legend Howie Long devoted to paying it forward

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USATSI

Son of Raiders legend Howie Long devoted to paying it forward

Editor's note: Raiders Insider Scott Bair is in Minneapolis all week long covering Super Bowl festivities -- check out Scott's archive as he files stories and podcasts leading up to the big game on Sunday  

ST. PAUL, Minn. – Terry Bradshaw cornered Chris Long shortly after Philadelphia won the NFC championship. He asked the veteran defensive and son of Raiders legend Howie Long about making Super Bowl LII, and the emotions that come with it.

The interview didn’t last, despite Chris Long’s eloquence. FOX cameras cut back to the pregame set, to capture his son Waylon having a Riley Curry moment.

The two-year old’s smile never ceased while sitting on grandpa Howie’s lap, reveling in a moment for the entire Long clan. Chris Long made his second Super Bowl.

Waylon might not remember that moment. He’s still too young. That didn’t sully Chris Long’s joy of sharing a great moment with his boy. Here's a bond he intends to fortify. He knows, after all, what it’s like to have a father as a best friend. Replicating that is his primary focus.

“The bond with my son Waylon is the most important thing,” Chris Long said. “My dad would say that, too. He’s the best thing that ever happened to me, and he makes anything I accomplish even better. It was so great having him on the field. He was having a blast. He saw granddad through the confetti and ran over to him. He’s such a ham, and got right on TV.”

Howie Long’s always on TV, and was a megastar while Chris Long was growing up. Chris wanted to be and play like the Silver and Black’s dominant defensive end. He followed in dad’s footsteps, both in sport and position. 

Chris Long was the No. 2 overall pick, and has 63.5 sacks in 10 NFL seasons. It certainly helped having someone like Howie as a sounding board, though technique isn’t always a topic on the table.

“He helps me a lot football-wise, but first and foremost he’s a best friend to me,” Chris Long said. “It certainly helps to have someone so close identify with what you’re doing and knows what it’s like. I was never the kid who walked off the field and had his dad start coaching right away. He always shot straight with me. I think that has helped me a lot.”

Chris hasn’t matched Howie Long’s illustrious career, but a second Super Bowl ring would provide some bragging rights.

“It’s hard to talk trash to a guy with a gold jacket,” Chris Long said. “I always tell him that my playoff winning percentage is better than his. I won one ring in nine years, and it took him 13, so mathematically I’m collecting them at a better clip.”

Chris Long is doing something unprecedented this year. He’s playing for free. Long donated his entire season’s salary to various charities, especially those focused on education, after fatal, racially motivated protests in his hometown of Charlottesville, Virginia. He has encouraged fans to join the movement, and donations have doubled his original amount.

Long is trying to give back and support racial minorities protesting mistreatment by the criminal justice system. He’s one of a few Caucasian players to stand in front of a movement started by former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

“I had every opportunity growing up,” Chris Long said. “Why wouldn’t I want other people to have the same experience, especially considering I didn’t fully appreciate it? My teammates are like family to me, and we didn’t all come from the same neighborhood. I can accept that I might love America, but others look at things through a different lens.”

He spent most of an hour-long session with the media Monday talking politics and social cause, a period he didn’t enjoy but considers essential given his celebrity status. He scoffs at those who consider athletes promoting social causes a distraction to the games themselves.

“Distraction is code for ‘I don’t like what you’re talking about,’” Long said. “Do I want to be talking about social issues when there’s a Super Bowl coming up? No, I don’t. Players have been contributing and speaking out in more accepted ways, and fans don’t mind that. When we’re talking about criminal justice reform or improving inner cities or helping communities with people of color through education, people say it’s political. I think we’re just trying to help people. That’s it.”

Chris Long attacks his profession, his family and his beliefs with conviction. That’s something his role model, best friend and father admires.

“He has a great passion for football and, as we’ve seen with him donating his salary and playing for free this year, he has passion off the field,” Howie Long said after the NFC Championship Game a fortnight past, with Waylon on his lap. “The passion he has for all that, and the passion he has for his family, is really special.”

Raiders vs. Cardinals live stream: Watch 2018 NFL Week 11 game online

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USATSI

Raiders vs. Cardinals live stream: Watch 2018 NFL Week 11 game online

The Raiders have had to make changes all week due to poor air quality in the Bay Area. What effect that has will be determined soon when they play the Cardinals Sunday in Arizona. 

Is this the week the Raiders get their second win of the season? How much will the absences of Jordy Nelson and Martavis Bryant hurt the offense? Can Derek Carr out-play rookie Josh Rosen?

We're about to find out.

Here's how to watch Sunday's Raiders-Cardinals NFL game online. 

Start time: Sunday, Nov. 18, at 1:05 p.m. PT
TV channel: CBS
Raiders live stream: fuboTV -- Get a free trial

Poor air quality impacting Raiders prep for Cardinals game

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AP

Poor air quality impacting Raiders prep for Cardinals game

ALAMEDA – The Raiders downgraded their practice to a walk-through for the second straight day due to poor air quality, again moving off-site to work indoors at a local sports complex.

While anyone in Silver and Black is careful to point out inconveniences brought about by think smoke in the Bay Area are inconsequential to the lives, homes and other property lost in the Camp Fire itself, the Raiders are at a disadvantage while preparing for Sunday’s road game against the Arizona Cardinals. 

They haven’t conducted a full-speed practice since Wednesday, and even that was conducted in poor air quality. Conditions have worsened dramatically over the past few days, with unhealthy conditions for even normal, healthy adults.

Had a home game been scheduled for Sunday, the NFL surely would’ve moved it to another location. The Environmental Protection Agency gave air quality an unhealthy score of 159 before the previous game against the Los Angeles Chargers. The EPA’s air quality score in Oakland was 256.

Smoky air drove the Raiders indoors for the second straight day, where they got in reps but none a full speed. They don’t have the space or quality surface to do real football work, but the Raiders are making do.

“We’re practicing in an indoor ice rink that was [converted] to a soccer field,” Raiders head coach Jon Gruden said. “We didn’t have much room to get the splits and get the routes run. We’re not going to make any excuses. We’re not the only people dealing with adversity right now.”

That last part is true, but this week’s prep wasn’t complete, and it could impact their ability to earn the season’s second win against a beatable opponent.

“The practices have impacted us, You need to see things at speed to generate timing," Gruden said. "Switching stunts in a walk through in an indoor facility is one thing, in a controlled fashion. Switching them on a practice field at full speed is another. Timing out routes, seeing it at speed. That’s why you see a lot of indoor facilities around the league. It gets bad outside, they go inside. Fortunately for us we were able to find a place to get some work in.”