PHOENIX -- Jack Del Rio’s sat down for his annual media breakfast Tuesday morning surrounded by cameras. The Raiders head coach was the main attraction at this AFC function at the NFL owners meetings, and it wasn’t because his team finished 12-4 last year.
Most of this media throng wasn’t there to ask about Derek Carr’s rehab from fibula surgery or position battles waged during the offseason program.
They wanted to know about Vegas, baby, Vegas.
The Raiders were approved to relocate there Monday and he was asked about how he’ll deal with relocation issues despite the fact Del Rio will coach the Oakland Raiders for as many as three seasons.
That limbo length is unprecedented, leaving Del Rio without a road map for how to ease concerns about the future.
“It’s a little unique,” Del Rio said. “There isn’t a handbook out there. If there is, send it to me. There isn’t one out there. We’ll draw on the experiences we have in the group, and do the best we can to put a plan together and execute it.”
Del Rio said he’ll address relocation with his players once they convene for the offseason program, and try to keep them focused on the present. He recommends discussion with anxious family members as well, and to reiterate that there’s an extended stretch where relocation is only a concept.
“If you go back to this basic principle: It’s a year-to-year league,” Del Rio said. “Heck, it’s a week-to-week league. Don’t get too far ahead of yourselves. There is a story that’s going to be written that’s going to take off.
“We have to focus on the here and now. So much of the team turns over anyway, from the coaching staffs to the roster. Let’s just focus on taking care of business.”
Del Rio brought up a good point, that NFL rosters turnover at roughly 30 percent each year and coaching staffs fluctuate, so it’s possible many may never be a Raider playing in Vegas.
Del Rio anticipates being involved in the construction and amenities of a practice facility in the Las Vegas area at some point, though a location hasn’t been chosen yet. He said the Raiders have had discussions on how to help players and staff with the eventual transition and with player outreach to mitigate issues regarding readily available vices in Sin City.
Del Rio said he would ask Raiders alumni about the move to Los Angeles in the 1980s, and use their experience to help in this upcoming move.
He answered every question on this topic Tuesday morning, but hopes to move on from it when the offseason program begins next month.
“For us, it’s really about getting back to the task of the upcoming season,” Del Rio said. “We know we’re going to have nine games not on our home turf. We have a demanding schedule, and it’s going to be imperative that, as a football team, we focus on the here and now. … We had a good, strong year last year and we’re looking forward to building on that.”
Las Vegas will remain a topic moving forward, and Del Rio will be prepared to deal with the unexpected as he sails uncharted waters.
“(After this), maybe I can write a handbook I can pass out to the next team in this spot,” Del Rio said. “For me, it’s something you have to navigate. You have to appreciate some of the things that are coming, know what they are and address them.”