Al Davis passes away at 82

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Al Davis passes away at 82

Raiders owner Al Davis, who led the team to three Super Bowl titles and is regarded as one of the icons on the American sports landscape, has died. He was 82.

The team reported his passing Saturday morning on its web site.

"Al Davis's passion for football and his influence on the game were extraordinary," NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. "He defined the Raiders and contributed to pro football at every level. The respect he commanded was evident in the way people listened carefully every time he spoke. He is a true legend of the game whose impact and legacy will forever be part of the NFL."

Under Davis' leadership, the Raiders established themselves as one of the most successful teams in all of professional sports. From 1967 to 1985 the team won 13 division titles, the 1967 AFL championship, and Super Bowls XI, XV and XVIII.

FAN FEEDBACK: Share your memories of Al Davis

The team is one of only two NFL franchises to play in the Super Bowl in four different decades.

Davis was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1992 and has the distinction of presenting nine inductees into the hall, a figure unmatched by any other individual.

"Everybody realizes that sooner or later, you're going to die. You never expected that from him, because he was so tough," said former Raiders Hall of Famer cornerback Willie Brown. "The things he'd gone through over the years, of course. He's meant a lot to this organization, because he's the leader. It's hard to replace a great leader and a legend like Al Davis."

His signature phrase "Just win, baby" became synonymous with the Silver & Black and his precedent-setting style of leadership influenced the NFL in countless ways.

He hired Art Shell, making the former Raiders lineman the first African-American coach in NFL history. Before that he hired Tom Flores as head coach. Flores was the first Mexican-American to hold the position atop an NFL team.

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Davis also set a precedent with his hiring of Amy Trask as the team's CEO. She is the first woman to hold that position with an NFL team.

Davis was not afraid to challenge the status quo in other ways. That was most evident during the 1980s when he went to court and won for the right to move his team from Oakland to Los Angeles. Even after he moved the Raiders back to the Bay Area in 1995, he sued for 1.2 billion to establish that he still owned the rights to the L.A. market.
Coach Hue Jackson told the team of Davis' death at a meeting in Houston on Saturday morning. Fans dressed in Raiders jerseys, meanwhile, quickly made their way to team headquarters in Alameda, where a black flag with the team logo flew at half-staff and a makeshift memorial formed at the base of the flag pole."Definitely shocking news for us," quarterback Jason Campbell said. "We got here last night and then you wake up this morning and hear we lost our owner, the man who built this team for many, many years, it's tough to take in as a team. We understand what he meant to this organization. He loved his players, and that didn't matter if you were here now, or if you played for him 30 years ago. He still loved all his players."People carrying flowers, flags, silver and black pompoms and even a football-shaped balloon stopped by to pay tribute on a warm, crystal clear fall day in the Bay Area. A tiny candle burned as well."It's like losing a grandfather," said Rob Ybarra of Alameda, who left a bouquet of white flowers shortly after hearing the news of Davis' passing. "He's such an icon. The face of the Raiders. It's hard to put into words how much he meant to everyone."Davis is survived by his wife, Carolee, and son Mark, who Davis had said would run the team after his death.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Donald Penn: Raiders players trust McKenzie will add right pieces

Donald Penn: Raiders players trust McKenzie will add right pieces

The Raiders were pretty darn good last season. A 12-4 record proved that point. There was plenty of talent on a team with a penchant for high-wire acts in victory that masked the fact there were holes on the roster.

They need to be filled for the Raiders to improve in 2017, and new players will be imported through free agency and the draft.

Left tackle Donald Penn is excited to see who gets added, but said there’s no doubt talent is coming to Oakland. He speaks for Raiders players, who have faith that general manager Reggie McKenzie will make the right moves.

“Things that Reggie has done in past drafts have been great, and we’re looking forward to seeing what he brings back towards us,” Penn said recently during an in-studio appearance on NFL Network. “We can’t wait to get back out there healthy. We’re ready to hit the football world with a storm.”

While new guys are coming, a few might head out. The Raiders have several unrestricted free agents. Penn wants to keep his guys around – he mentioned running back Latavius Murray by name -- though he has some ideas for McKenzie’s checklist.

The Raiders don’t need much with most key players under contract – the Raiders should be less active in free agency over past offseasons – but a few key components could put this team over the top.

“If we stick to Reggie’s plan, we’ll be great,” Penn said. “I know he’s going to have a great draft, add a couple little pieces here and there – maybe somebody in the secondary to help out a little bit.

"On offense, you could always use a weapon. Maybe we get another receiver to take (pressure off Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper), but we have a good nucleus right now.”

Raiders LT Donald Penn: QB Derek Carr 'almost 100 percent'

Raiders LT Donald Penn: QB Derek Carr 'almost 100 percent'

Derek Carr is on the mend. The Raiders franchise quarterback had surgery to repair his fibula shortly after he broke it in a Week 16 victory over Indianapolis, and is recovering well during the offseason.

Carr insisted on intense rehab this winter in an attempt – however unlikely it may have been – to return should the Raiders have played in the Super Bowl. It slowed to a normal pace after the Raiders' loss at Houston in the postseason’s opening round, but those in contact with him say he’s making strides.

Left tackle Donald Penn was recently in contact with Carr, and provided an update on Monday during an in-studio appearance on NFL Network.

“I texted Derek (a few) days ago checking in,” Penn said, “and he said he’s almost 100 percent.”

Surgically-repaired broken filbulas take significant time to heal, and the Raiders plan to be conservative with their MVP candidate during the offseason. Derek Carr’s brother and NFL Network analyst David Carr, who was on set with Penn on Monday, said Derek could be back for offseason work.

“He’s doing good,” David Carr said. “He’s walking around already, stretching it out. You can’t do a lot for the bone, right? But he’s going to be back. He’s going to get a whole full offseason in. That’s going to be the best part.”