Bergstrom wasn't about to be first holdout of new CBA

July 28, 2012, 11:43 pm
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NAPA -- The way Tony Bergstrom tells it, there was a "nervous tension" on the bus ride to the Napa Valley Marriott from the Raiders' Alameda facility. After all, so many of the occupants were heading for their first NFL training camp."Then, about 20 minutes into the bus ride," the rookie offensive lineman said, "everybody was just kind of wanting to get off the bus."I'm not used to California traffic yet. I'll get there."Despite worries that he might not make it to Napa on time due to the first draft pick of the Reggie McKenzie Era remaining unsigned through Friday afternoon, Bergstrom put pen to paper and signed his contract at team headquarters at 10:07 Friday night.In fact, Bergstrom, who just experienced the birth of his first son this week, said he had agreed to terms "a long time ago. I'm an old-school guy. I like to do things in person, and I think that kind of fits in well with our organization. It was basically just getting out here and signing."Taken 95th overall out of Utah as a third-round compensatory pick, Bergstrom is expected to challenge 13th-year veteran Cooper Carlisle for the starting left guard spot after playing right tackle at Utah."Its coming," Bergstrom said. "It took awhile. I got a good taste of it at the Senior Bowl and just all the OTAs and minicamps really solidified that spot. Being in a left-handed stance feels a lot more natural right now, when I get down and run or whatever. Its getting there."The team will hold its first practice Monday, and will put on pads and hit for the first time Wednesday."Its been a long time since I put on pads," he said. "Im always a little more eager, at the beginning. I usually am over-eager at the beginning and then reality kind of hits as camp goes, as it gets into camp, so Im eager to get started, Im eager to strap it up. Really, a lot of the improvement comes when you put on pads. Its hard to do a ton when youre just in helmets."Nothing, though, would have been accomplished had the contract not been signed in time. Not that that was ever a concern in his mind."Oh yeah," Bergstrom said, "I'm not about to be the first holdout of the new CBA as a third-rounder."