Free War Pigeon!


Free War Pigeon!

ALAMEDA -- Of course, a million times of course, I type this with tongue planted firmly in cheek, er beak.

But, aside from the Raiders actually ending their six-game losing streak and beating Kansas City, 15-0, on Sunday, was there anything more entertaining than the re-appearance of War Pigeon during pregame warmups and during the first half?

"I'm surprised we didn't get a flag for 12 men (on the field)," cracked Raiders coach Dennis Allen on Monday.

Remember, it was more than three years ago when a pigeon showed up on the field during the Raiders' upset of Philadelphia on Oct. 18, 2009. The bird even "played" in kick coverage on special teams, staying in his/her/its lane on kickoffs.

Many Raiders that day said the pigeon harkened the spirit of deceased special teamer Marquis Cooper in a feel-good story from the beyond.

Sunday, a pigeon calmly strutted around the field during warmups and was almost stepped on by a dropping back Carson Palmer, before showing its quicks and getting out of harms way.

War Pigeon then made its way to the Chiefs sideline after the National Anthem -- behind enemy lines?!? -- before suddenly reappearing near midfield.

Late in the second half, the pigeon strutted around the Raiders huddle, when right guard MIke Brisiel tried to shoo it away…with his foot. Brisiel was met with lusty boos from the crowd.

"I was like, 'Oh geez,'" Brisiel said with a crooked smile, before pleading. "I was just trying to protect it. It's a war zone out there, could be dangerous.

"Something was wrong with that thing. He was a little off."

At halftime, with Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Free Bird" blaring about the Coliseum, field personnel tracked the pigeon down and put it in a bucket and took it out of the stadium.

A Raiders official on Monday showed a picture to media members of the freed fowl outside of the Coliseum and, of course, a Twitter account purporting to be the pigeon has been created.

"We need the pigeon to come with us to Carolina next week," another anonymous Raiders official said, and we think said official was joking.

Then again, per Associated Press, pigeons can fly 600-700 miles per day. And with the Panthers' Bank of America Stadium some 2,765 miles from the Coliseum (by highway and not as the crow, er, pigeon flies), War Pigeon could conceivably stick around for gameplan install on Tuesday night and the beginning of practice Wednesday morning before starting its trek east and be there before kickoff on Sunday.

Or not.

Oakland stadium authority director doesn't want Raiders in 2019


Oakland stadium authority director doesn't want Raiders in 2019

PHOENIX – The Raiders hope to play the next three years in the Bay Area before moving to Las Vegas. They were approved to relocate on Monday at the NFL owners meetings, but can’t leave right away because Las Vegas doesn’t have a suitable temporary NFL venue.

The Raiders have team options on one-year leases to play at Oakland Coliseum during the 2017 and 2018 seasons, and are expected to do exactly that. Owner Mark Davis said he’s open to negotiating a lease to play the 2019 season there as well before moving into new Vegas digs in 2020.

The Oakland Coliseum authority may not grant that request.

"I would say to you with the highest level of confidence, my opinion and recommendation and that of my board members, I don’t believe there is any appetite for a third season (in Oakland),” director of the Oakland Coliseum joint powers authority Scott McKibben told USA Today.

McKibben said hosting a Raiders game is a financial loss for the JPA.

If the Raiders can’t reach an agreement to play at the Oakland Coliseum in 2019, they have other options in the Bay Area, though none is ideal. They could play at Cal’s Memorial Stadium or use Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara as a last resort in the Bay Area, sources told CSN California reporter Scott Bair.

They could renovate UNLV’s Sam Boyd Stadium – locker room and security upgrades are mandatory – though the Raiders would prefer to avoid that route.


Raiders HC Jack Del Rio believes he could help Aldon Smith

Raiders HC Jack Del Rio believes he could help Aldon Smith

PHOENIX – Raiders edge rusher Aldon Smith has been banished from the NFL for over 16 months now as a repeat offender of the league’s substance abuse policy.

Commissioner Roger Goodell hasn’t ruled on Smith’s reinstatement application and it’s hard to imagine movement coming soon on that front after a pair of recent run-ins with the law.

He was reportedly involved in a domestic incident and was questioned by San Francisco police last month. Then he was a passenger in a vehicle that hit an unmarked police car on March 10, an incident where the driver was arrested on suspicion of DUI. Smith seemed out of sorts when interviewed by media after emerging from a San Francisco police station.

Smith’s banishment states he can’t have contact with Raiders personnel outside the director of player engagement, a stipulation head coach Jack Del Rio has criticized in the past.

He did so again Tuesday at the NFL owners meetings, saying it’s unfortunate the organization can’t support Smith during difficult times.

“It’s a little bit frustrating to not be able to be a part of the process,” Del Rio said. “My feel is that I could help him, but the experts know. The experts don’t allow that. We have to follow the rules.

“It does get frustrating to not be able to help a young man and provide support and provide structure. Somebody else has to make those decisions. It’s just out of my hands.”

The Raiders can’t petition for greater involvement, and are therefore in a wait-and-see mode regarding their troubled, yet talented player.

“He has to get himself together,” general manager Reggie McKenzie said. “(Smith’s status) is totally on the league office. They know more than what we know.”