Raiders

Why jumping into Black Hole is so unforgettable for Raiders players

Why jumping into Black Hole is so unforgettable for Raiders players

Raiders running back Jalen Richard drifted into the left flat and caught a screen pass from quarterback Derek Carr a few yards from pay dirt. Three receivers were engaged and blocking well before him, allowing Richard to squiggle through traffic and into Oakland Coliseum’s southern end zone.

It was a big moment for the 2016 Raiders, looking to enhance playoff positioning with a Week 16 home win over Indianapolis. It was a big moment for Richard, an undrafted rookie who found himself a major contributor in a playoff push. He didn’t stop to celebrate with his teammates. No way, not after his first touchdown in the East Bay.

There was tradition to uphold. Richard made a beeline for the Black Hole.

“It was definitely planned,” Richard said. “I thought they looked like they were turnt up. Everybody was faded and having a blast. I knew I had to do it.”

It’s a rite of passage for Raiders skill players fortunate enough to score near a notoriously rabid fan section.

“Sometimes I plan on it, and other times it just happens,” Raiders running back DeAndre Washington said. “Once you get in the end zone, your adrenaline is going and you’ve got 60,000 people screaming for you to come get that love. They always embrace you. It’s one hell of a feeling. I would advise anybody who scores to try it at least once."

Jumping into the Black Hole isn’t new. Running back Napoleon Kaufman was first to do it in the mid-1990s -- the Raiders moved back to Oakland in 1995 -- as the Black Hole was established and growing in size and notoriety.

The tradition grew from there and has become commonplace when the Raiders break into the southern end zone. There’s one more guaranteed chance to do so Sunday against Jacksonville, the final Raiders game at Oakland Coliseum and maybe the Black Hole's last hurrah.

It’s not just rushers and receivers who can get in on the act.

Quarterback Jeff George took the leap in 1997. Edge rusher Khalil Mack and linebacker Sio Moore have partied in the crowd. Even 340-pound left tackle Donald Penn jumped into the Black Hole after scoring a big-man touchdown.

Former All-Pro fullback Marcel Reece never missed a chance to party with the fans who unwaveringly supported the Raiders during some lean years.

“Jumping in the Black Hole and celebrating with those fans, those loyalists, those people who bleed silver and black just like you do, it’s like being at Thanksgiving dinner with your family,” Reece said. “It’s that feeling where, no matter what else is going on, nothing else matters but that moment right there.

"The fact that you scored and gave them a reason to cheer is a feeling that’s like nothing else.”

There is some technique to it. You need a head of steam and decent hops to get over the stadium wall and into the crowd. It’s decently low, but folks have tried to get into the Black Hole and missed. It’s also important to jump up, turn around and go in backwards. The leap of faith will be rewarded by fans ready to catch you.

“You need a little bounce or you’ll get embarrassed,” Raiders running back DeAndre Washington said. “I’ve seen a few guys miss the leap, so you’ve got to be ready to get vertical. Even if you don’t make it, the fans will pull you up. You might get a little beer on you, but that’s part of the experience.”

There’s another aspect of the experience first-timers don’t expect. Getting in is easy. Getting out is another matter.

“Sometimes they don’t like to let you go,” Washington said. “And, if you get in there with the ball, it’s going to be a fight for sure. You have to protect it like you were still running.”

[RELATED: Sunday marks end of an era for longtime Black Hole residents]

The experience doesn’t last long. Teammates come running up quick, with offensive linemen ready to pull scorers out of the abyss. Beer stains come with it, but it’s a unique part of the Raiders playing experience.

“It’s like you’re a part of the Black Hole for a split second,” Richard said. “You jump up there and you just feed off of their energy. It’s pretty awesome.”

Raiders' Mike Mayock says move to Las Vegas beneficial for free agency

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USATSI

Raiders' Mike Mayock says move to Las Vegas beneficial for free agency

Las Vegas has long been a city where Americans go to escape the mundane aspects of their lives and dive head-first into the debauchery and freedoms that come with “Sin City.”

Once the 2020 NFL season kicks off, there will be a new mode of entertainment for those who descend on The Strip, as the Raiders will open up play at Allegiant Stadium and re-brand as the Las Vegas Raiders.

Primarily known as a vacation destination, Raiders general manager Mike Mayock is confident the organization’s new zip code can help attract some of the best free agents the NFL has to offer.

“I think first and foremost, we go from a 13-percent state tax in California to a zero-percent state tax in Nevada,” Mayock told Raiders.com's Eddie Paskal. “The players and their agents are very aware of that.”

In addition to the financial savings, Mayock says the new digs for the Silver and Black will be on par with the best organizations in the NFL.

“I've heard more comments about what our new stadium looks like. You know, that black exterior, the sleekness of it. People are fired up about the Raiders in Vegas.

“I think there's a real excitement about Jon Gruden leading the Raiders into Las Vegas and it extends financially, extends to our facilities, we're gonna be a first-rate operation in every single facet and I think that energy will trickle through into free agency.”

[RELATED: Raiders can fill holes with these 15 Senior Bowl prospects]

Will free agents indeed flock to Vegas to join Gruden and what was a 7-9 team in 2019?

The front office certainly thinks so.

Police: Antonio Brown a suspect in alleged battery outside Florida home

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Police: Antonio Brown a suspect in alleged battery outside Florida home

Free-agent wide receiver Antonio Brown is a suspect in a felony battery case stemming from an alleged incident outside his Hollywood, Fla. home.

Brown and his trainer, Glen Holt, allegedly battered the driver of a moving truck, Hollywood police said Tuesday.

Holt was charged with one count of felony burglary and one count of felony battery. Police attempted to speak to Brown regarding the situation but were unsuccessful.

Police hoped to contact Brown in order to determine whether to bring battery charges against him.

The receiver hasn’t played since Week 2 of the NFL regular season after being released by the New England Patriots. Prior to that, Brown spent training camp with the Raiders before demanding his release following a bizarre sequence of confrontations with management.