Manuel: OC Downing made signing with Raiders a 'no brainer'

Manuel: OC Downing made signing with Raiders a 'no brainer'

EJ Manuel met Todd Downing at the 2013 Senior Bowl. That was roughly four years ago now, when Downing was Detroit quarterbacks coach and Manuel was a highly touted quarterback out of Florida State.

The Lions didn’t need a quarterback then but the Buffalo Bills certainly did, selecting Manuel with the No. 16 overall pick. Manuel appreciated Downing’s tuteledge as a draft prospect, and was thrilled when Buffalo made him quarterbacks coach before his second professional season.

The pair formed a solid bond then and now have a chance to foster it. Manuel signed a contract with the Raiders on Monday afternoon, re-joining forces with the Silver and Black’s recently promoted offensive coordinator. Manuel said Downing was a big reason why he signed on this deal.

“When he did call once free agency began and told me that they were interested, for me it was a no-brainer,” Manuel said in a conference call. “That’s a situation you want. Especially as a quarterback and in my situation, trying to really change the perception of whatever I’ve gone through in Buffalo and all that kind of stuff. I know the player I can be and so does coach Downing. That’s what I’m excited about.”

Manuel’s NFL career hasn’t been smooth. He was a rookie starter who lost that job in his second season, a setback for a physically gifted passer from Florida State hoping for better.

Manuel won’t regain a starting spot in Oakland, where Derek Carr is firmly entrenched atop the depth chart. Manuel has enjoyed previous interactions and marveled at his rapid rise from afar.

“We watched him on tape a bunch because they played the same teams during the season,” Manuel said. “I used to even call or text Todd during the season the past two years and just ask him what he was doing as far as teaching Derek. What was he doing to help his game jump levels so quickly? I felt like he elevated his game so fast as a young guy. To have the consistency and such that he’s had, especially last year, in this league is very hard to do. However I can help him, I’m willing to do, but of course I’m here to compete for the No. 2 job.”

That spot could well go to Connor Cook, a 2016 fourth-round pick who started a playoff game last season with Carr and Matt McGloin on the shelf.

“I just want to be an addition,” Manuel said. “I’m not an ego guy and all that kind of stuff. I’m not driven by that. Obviously, as a player you’re very prideful in yourself, but I’m about the team. I want the team to get better. I want to be here to help this franchise and team to be where they are in whatever role or capacity that is. That’s what I’m excited to do.”

After eating her food as kid, Lynch purchasing restaurant from 79-year-old

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After eating her food as kid, Lynch purchasing restaurant from 79-year-old

Marshawn Lynch first tasted Cassie Nickelson's food when he was nine years old while she catered out of her Oakland apartment.

"When he was 9-years-old, he came across the street to get a hamburger and French fries. 25-cent French fries and a 75-cent hamburger," Nickelson said to KTVU.

Lynch, 31, is now set to take over Nickelson's popular soul-food restaurant, Scend's Restaurant and Bar, in Emeryville. Nickelson, 79, will be retiring in August. 

"I'm comfortable with him and I like him," Nickelson said.

Lynch will not become the official owner until the liquor license changes hands. Scend's, an acronym for Nickelson's children and grandchildren, is known for its seafood, fried chicken and red beans. 

Father of Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie passes away

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Father of Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie passes away

Raider Nation is grieving on Monday.

The father of general manager Reggie McKenzie passed away recently, and the franchise issued the following statement:

"The Raiders family is saddened by the passing of Sam McKenzie Jr., father of Reggie and Raleigh McKenzie. The thoughts and prayers of the entire Raider Nation are with the McKenzie family."

No additional information is known at this time.