Raiders' Branch says 'sky's the limit' for 2012

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Raiders' Branch says 'sky's the limit' for 2012

Raiders safety Tyvon Branch, who signed a four-year contract this week, has only one goal for next season -- winning. The five-year veteran, who has a team-high 337 tackles over the past three seasons, joined reporters in a conference call Wednesday to discuss his new deal. Here is a partial transcript of his comments.

Q: For you to get a deal signed before camp, was that important?
Branch: "It was one of those things I felt was important but it wasn't a distraction ... I knew I was going to be a part of the team so I wasn't worried about it. ... I hoped that it would be able to get done. I love playing for the Raiders. ... I wanted to get a deal done so I'm excited about it.

Q: Did the knowledge that a long-term deal would help Oakland's salary cap number influence your decision?
Branch: "I knew that me signing would help the cap but I play football and let my agent do the other stuff. "

Q: Does the long-term deal give you peace of mind?
Branch: "Definitely it gives you that stability that you know you're going to be around for another couple of years."

Q: You had an oustanding season last year. How much better can you be?
Branch: "I think the sky's the limit as long as you work hard and want to become great. I think the sky's the limit. I'm just going to keep working hard and try to improve my game."

Q: Can you compare yourself to other safeties in the game?
Branch: "I don't really focus on that. I focus on what I'm doing here and what it takes for us to get better. ... I focus on my team. Different safeties have different roles in different defenses."

Q: What personal goals do you have for this season after leading the team in tackles?Branch: "I don't really have any personal goals. I just want to win man, whatever it takes to win. I'm all about winning -- whatever it takes for us to get in the big dance. "

Report: Fortress group submits Oakland stadium plan to NFL

Report: Fortress group submits Oakland stadium plan to NFL

OAKLAND -- The investment group seeking to build a new stadium to keep the Raiders in Oakland has submitted a formal plan to the NFL for the first time.

A person familiar with the deal said Tuesday that the plan was submitted by the Fortress Investment Group within the past 10 days. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the submission was not made public. Sports Business Daily first reported the submission.

Fortress is working with NFL Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott on a plan to build a stadium in Oakland to replace the outdated Coliseum. Oakland city officials gave Fortress the right to develop a plan for a stadium and new development at the current Coliseum site.

The NFL dismissed the initial plan that was made public in December but Fortress has been in discussions with the league the past two months to try to answer their concerns. The person said the plan recently submitted is "fundamentally" the same as the one previously made public but does clarify some questions raised by the league.

Fortress and Oakland officials are hopeful of having a viable option to present to owners before they meet in late March for a possible vote on whether to allow the Raiders to move to Las Vegas, where the team has struck a deal for a 65,000-seat domed stadium.

The team also needs to find a funding replacement for casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, who withdrew a $650 million pledge for the $1.9 billion Las Vegas project. The Raiders recently told the stadium authority board in Las Vegas that financing will not be an issue.

The state of Nevada has committed $750 million to the project, while the Raiders and NFL would pay the remaining $500 million if three-quarters of the league's owners approve a move.

 

Carr on possible Raiders extension: 'I don't want to play anywhere else'

Carr on possible Raiders extension: 'I don't want to play anywhere else'

The Raiders hope to extend franchise quarterback Derek Carr’s contract this offseason. That sits well with No. 4.

He doesn’t want to play anywhere else.

A long-term contract extension is a surefire way to make that happen.

“They know how I feel,” Carr said Tuesday in an interview with Sirius XM Mad Dog Radio’s Adam Schein. “I’m a Raider. I’m a Raider for life. I don’t want to play anywhere else. When I got drafted, this is where I wanted to be anyway. I don’t want to go anywhere, ever. They told me they don’t want me to go anywhere, ever. Now it’s about two people who want to be together, and how do we make that happen? We’ll see.”

Extending a quarterback can be complicated with huge numbers in total dollars and guaranteed funds. The player wants fair market value. For a young talent like Carr, that’s a lot. The team wants a happy quarterback without handicapping the team long-term. That’s especially true of a Raiders club planning a big-money extension for Khalil Mack at some point, while retaining other key members of their young foundation.

Carr will be the first key extension in a cluster of them. It’s something the Raiders have planned for a while now, and expressed to Carr’s camp.

“I think they’ve been talking even since through the season, keeping a line of communication together and keeping in touch,” Carr said. “Now that it’s getting on down the line and getting serious, I think that they’re trying to fugure out a way to (get) it done. If we can do that, great. If not, I can assure you I’m just going to be out there playing football.”

Outsiders have pegged Andrew Luck’s six-year, $122 million contract with Indianapolis that contained $47 million fully guaranteed at signing – much more is guaranteed for injury -- as a benchmark.

Carr is ready to enter a contract year, but said he didn’t have a deadline for when a deal had to get done. It might help the Raiders to have it complete by the start of free agency on March 9, which would give the team greater clarity regarding this offseason’s salary cap space. That doesn’t mean it will happen then, but an extension at some point seems like a slam dunk.

"If it happens, that’ll be cool. That money’s going to help a lot of people. I’m not going to change my attire or outfits. I’m still going to wear the same clothes I’ve had since college. I’m still going to wear UGG slippers out and my wife will shake her head at me.

“…The biggest thing for me is that I don’t want it to distract my teammates. They know me, that I really don’t care. I just like to play ball, but I don’t want people asking them questions. I would want it done so they don’t have to deal with it, but I’m always going to do what’s best for my family and what’s best for the team all in one. If we can all look at each other and say we feel good about something, then we can walk away and focus on football. …I want to play ball, and I want to do it in a silver and black jersey.”