A few weeks back, Chris Johnson was on the verge of being placed on season-ending Injured Reserve after an infection in what was believed to be a sports hernia surgery set in.Now, the veteran cornerback is preparing to contribute in a game after dressing for, but not playing in, the Raiders' 25-20 defeat of Chicago on Sunday. It's a seeming rare bright spot for a team so ravaged by injury this season."He just wanted me to put the pads back on, just in case," Johnson said of coach Hue Jackson. "I was the emergency guy last week. I just went along with what coach wanted me to do."Johnson, who is officially listed with an injury to his groin and hamstring, has not appeared in a game since the Raiders beat the New York Jets on Sept. 25. In his place, the Raiders have started rookie DeMarcus Van Dyke and former Pro Bowler Lito Sheppard opposite Stanford Routt."I'm getting back in the mix this week," said Johnson, who has three passes defensed, a forced fumble and nine tackles in three games. One that got away, though, was an interception that would have sealed a victory for the Raiders at Buffalo in Week 2. Instead, the Bills rallied for the win."This is the second week I'm practicing, so I'm going to take what they give me," Johnson said. "I should be in full stride by next week."The Raiders play at Green Bay next week. The Packers drafted Johnson in the seventh round, No. 245 overall, out of Louisville. He never appeared in a game for Green Bay.
ALAMEDA – Raiders left tackle Donald Penn missed training camp holding out for a new, more lucrative contract. He missed Tuesday’s practice, the first back at the team’s training facility.
His protest began 26 days ago. The regular season is 19 days away.
Penn has worked out with top trainers and private offensive line coaches while away from the team, but still needs time to get back in the flow.
The San Francisco Chronicle reported Monday that Penn is expected back this week. He wasn’t there for the first of three sessions when the Raiders will focus on the third preseason game at Dallas. It’s the last meaningful exhibition, with players down on the depth chart expected to populate the preseason finale versus Seattle.
Penn doesn’t necessarily need to play in a preseason game to prep for the Sept. 10 regular-season opener at Tennessee, but it could help.
Head coach Jack Del Rio wouldn’t address Penn’s status, or whether there’s a deadline for him to report and be ready for the regular season.
The Raiders have managed with Marshall Newhouse on the left and Vadal Alexander on the right. The pair has fared well, though the line will be significantly stronger with Penn back and a Newhouse/Alexander competition on the right.
Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie made it clear weeks ago that the Raiders wouldn’t talk contract until a player reports. Penn preferred a contract get done before showing up. Weeks were lost to that impasse.
Quarterback Derek Carr hopes it will end soon, and that Penn will come back to the team.
“It would obviously mean a lot, if that’s what he chooses to do,” Carr said. “He’s our teammate. We want all our teammates here. We want to work hard together. We want to be together and joke together. It’s more than just football. We want to be there in his life, with him.
"It would mean a lot. Obviously, I would love it.”
So Las Vegas’ army of legal books are in a moderate panic because they are so overexposed with Conor McGregor bets. Apparently, other than the Maloof brothers, they can’t scare up any Mayweather money at all.
Maybe this is the secret reason Mark Davis has declared publicly that the Raiders intend to colonize Los Angeles.
The latest evidence of the books’ distress is this Big Lead headline, which subtly hints, “Vegas Sportsbooks Are Exposed Like Never Before, Will Be Decimated if Conor McGregor Beats Floyd Mayweather.”
Well, if McGregor wins (and you’ll have to tell me about it because I’d rather watch feet sweat in the noonday sun than this), gambling in Vegas apparently will not exist any longer because the sporting apocalypse will finally be upon us. And if there is no gambling in Vegas, there is no Vegas, and all of a sudden the Raiders are moving to a town whose mayor is an iguana and whose chamber of commerce is tumbleweeds.
Hence, Davis’ answer to a question from Los Angeles Daily News writer Vincent Bonsignore about how L.A. has always been a Raiders’ town and that the team will get lots of its fans from the basin – fans who apparently cannot stomach either the Rams or the Chargers.
Ignoring Davis’ folly of answering that question that way at this time, when the NFL itself is wondering if, for its financial purposes, the mayor of L.A. is an iguana and the chamber of commerce is tumbleweeds, this news reminds us that the league has managed in less than two years to ruin the second-largest market in the United States by dithering, by backroom deals, by aversion of money spent by “the wrong kind of people” (see “brown”). That level of chaos is to be appreciated and enjoyed for what it is – nature’s way of telling rich people who’s boss.
Now, if nature doubles down and figures a way to make McGregor win and break Vegas, maybe the entire down isn’t destroyed but instead becomes a colony of Ireland, where the prime minister is not an iguana but a human, and the closest thing to tumbleweeds is a Guinness brewery.
Maybe if that happens, the Raiders end up playing in Dublin instead (a delightful little asterisk since there was a perfectly good Dublin not far from Oakland to begin with) – and they spend their entire time complaining that they have to share Croke Park and that there are too many markings on the field from all those damned hurling matches.
Of course this isn’t likely to happen, and Vegas keeps taking all the McGregor money you can throw at it. But one of these times, and sooner than we think, the apocalypse is not going to take no for an answer, and you will see Mark Davis with a pipe stuck bowl downward in his mouth standing next to a pot of gold.
Which of course will belong to the Bank Of America, because there are some things even the apocalypse can’t beat.