HOUSTON -- Greetings from the highest press box in the NFL, or at least, the highest one I've ever been in. It is a great view, though, even if the roof is closed, which is probably a good thing considering the downpours we've experienced already this morning.
Of course, the news of Al Davis' passing on Saturday is the talk of Reliant Stadium.
The Raiders are wearing stickers on the back of their helmets to commemorate Davis as it is a black decal in the shape of the Raiders' shield with "AL" in silver.
A moment of silence is planned. It will be interesting to see how the crowd responds, given that Houston was an original American Football League outpost in 1960.
As far as presume workouts several players are still wearing the pink cleats and gloves to commemorate breast cancer awareness.
Fullback Manase Tonga, elevated from the practice squad on Saturday, is getting his work in as well. Still, it could be a quick one-and-done for the rookie since quarterback Terrelle Pryor's five-game suspension ends after today's game and the Raiders will need a roster spot and starting fullback Marcel Reece seems close to returning from his ankle injury.
Also, Jacoby Ford is fielding punts, along with Denarius Moore.
Obi Melifonwu entered Wednesday as the only second-round draft pick without a signed rookie contract. Later that afternoon, he joined the group.
The safety from UConn put pen to paper on a four-year deal at the Napa Valley Marriott, allowing him to join pre-training camp activities. Veterans report on Friday and camp’s first full-squad practice starts Saturday morning.
The pact took longer than the Raiders or Melifonwu had hoped. There's little room for fiscal movement in the rookie wage scale, but some contract language had to be hashed out before shaking hands.
Melifonwu is slotted to make $4,509,376 over the life of the contract, with a $1,419,544 signing bonus and a $819,886 base salary in 2017, per overthecap.com.
The Raiders have one draft pick left unsigned. First-round cornerback Gareon Conley hasn’t agreed on a deal, though it’s still likely that happens before the first full practice.
The Ohio State alum’s situation could be complicated by an ongoing investigation into a sexual assault allegation stemming from an April 9 incident in Cleveland.
Head coach Jack Del Rio said in a Tuesday radio interview he expected unsigned rookie contract issues to be resolved soon.
Watch out Jalen Richard. You have some competition for your punt returning job.
Okay, not really.
But quarterback Derek Carr got in on the action Tuesday. In a video posted by the Raiders on Twitter, Carr fielded a punt and ran it back to the endzone for a touchdown.
He proceeded to do Deion Sanders' touchdown dance and that elicited a response from the Pro Football Hall of Famer.
"That's 1 of the many reasons why I gots mad love for
@derekcarrqb he is the #Truth," Sanders wrote in a quote tweet.
Carr has yet to respond.