ALAMEDA -- Yeah, you could say the Raiders have been looking forward to this weekend's game at Kansas City for a while. Or at least, since the schedule itself was released in April.In the kinder, gentler way of putting things, the Raiders get to renew acquaintances with an old friend in Chiefs cornerback Stanford Routt, who signed with Kansas City after being cut by the Raiders in a cost-cutting move.In a more harsh manner, the Raiders get to go against Routt, the most penalized player in the NFL last year with 17, and if they're licking their chops at the prospect of going at him in trying to win their sixth straight game at Arrowhead Stadium, they're not showing it outwardly.The truth, though? Probably somewhere between the two thoughts. Though no doubt Routt is a big topic of discussion in the Raiders locker room.So, should Raiders quarterback Carson Palmer target Routt with aplomb Sunday?"I wish he would," said safety Mike Mitchell, close friends with Routt whose locker was next to his. "I wish we would run at him every play and throw at him every play, just so he has to work. Lets make him work. Lets make it hard on him, lets not make it easy on him. I feel thats how he would want it and its definitely how we want it. We want to make him compete."Two offseasons ago, with Nnamdi Asomugha headed to Philadelphia, Routt was re-signed by Al Davis to a three-year, 31.5-million contract, with 20 million guaranteed and then re-structured to a five-year, 54.5-million deal in training camp with the same 20 million guaranteed. But due a 5 million base salary by Oakland in 2012, and the day before a 5 million "signing bonus" was to kick in, new Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie cut Routt, on Feb. 9.Eleven days later, Routt signed a reported three-year, 20-million deal with 4 million guaranteed with Kansas City after visiting Buffalo and Cincinnati."Its hilarious, when we released him, he told me, 'Im not mad, Im getting paid by half the AFC West,'" Mitchell said. "My whole thing, I just want to make him earn his money. I want to run at him every play, I want to throw at him every play. Make him earn that money."In 2011, Routt had a career-high four interceptions but surrendered an NFL-high eight touchdown passes and his "burn rate" rose to 47.4 percent after being among the league leaders at 39.4 percent in 2010. His 17 penalties last year, including nine in the last three games, were: eight for holding, seven for pass interference, one for illegal use of hands and a personal foul.So far this year Routt's burn rate of 58.1 percent (18 of 31) for 328 yards with a touchdown allowed."Hes looked pretty good," said Palmer, with a straight face."Two weeks ago against Tampa Bay, he had some balls caught on him that he actually tipped and just (a) bad bounce, the ball bounces the wrong way and it ended up in the receiver's hands for big plays. But its a good secondary. They've got Eric Berry back there. (Brandon) Flowers is a real good physical corner and Stanford can run with just about anybody in the league. Its a good group all around."Asked if he was able to glean anything from Routt's tendencies as a teammate last year, Palmer shook his head."Not really," he said. "I mean, you dont practice against the starting defense all that often, especially once the season starts. You do in training camp. Didn't have a chance to go against him much."But Ive seen him play on film and he can run, and hes a big, long, lanky corner, and he does a good job getting his hands on balls."Raiders running back Darren McFadden giggled when asked how weird it was going to be seeing Routt, a teammate for four years, on the other side of the field."It's going to be different seeing him over there but you know, it's football, guys move around," McFadden said. "You play against guys that you've played with before so it's one of those deals you just have to play it like another game."For years, the two would trash-talk each other about who was faster. So did they ever have that footrace?"Nah, we didn't get to settle that," McFadden said with a huge smile, before he grew serious. "I'm always going to be able to take it."So come Sunday, if there's a footrace where McFadden has the ball and Routt is giving chase, who wins?"I think I'm going to win," McFadden said. "Yeah."The Raiders, though, are thinking about more than a simple sprint.
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.
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.”