Raiders

Thinned-out Raiders to begin camp Wednesday

Thinned-out Raiders to begin camp Wednesday

July 26, 2011GUTIERREZ ARCHIVE
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Paul Gutierrez
CSNCalifornia.comA thinned-out roster of Raiders will begin reporting to the Napa Marriott Wednesday for training camp -- only players under contract can participate -- and first-year head coach Hue Jackson will address the media for the first time since the NFL lockout lifted this week.GUTIERREZ: Raiders' top priorities entering camp
The previous two years, under Tom Cable, the Raiders began with four days of non-contact, two-a-day practices. Under Jackson, they will have just one practice per day for the first five days, beginning at 3:30 p.m. It is not known yet how much contact will be allowed immediately but Oakland opens its preseason schedule with an Aug. 11 home game against Arizona at the O.co Coliseum.

Unless there are sudden developments, the Raiders will begin camp without 17 unrestricted free agents -- among them, Nnamdi Asomugha, Zach Miller, Jon Condo, Michael Huff, Ricky Brown, Khalif Barnes, Mario Henderson, Thomas Howard, Bruce Gradkowski. But restricted free agent running back Michael Bush is eligible to participate.GUTIERREZ: Ranking the Raiders' free agents
Physicals will take place on site at the Napa Marriott.Plus, numerous reports had the Raiders signing just as many undrafted rookie free agents on Tuesday. The Raiders, though, would not confirm any of the signings, at least not until they are official. Or until they show up in Napa.A list, then, of the unconfirmed undrafted free agent signings, culled from reports and the Twitterverse:Boston College fullback James McCluskey, SMU cornerback Sterling Moore, Iowa State center Ben Lamaak, Auburn safety, Zac Etheridge, San Jose State quarterback Jordan La Secla, Nebraska-Kearney defensive end Mason Brodine, Penn State linebacker Bani Gbadyu, California (PA) receiver Derrick Jones, North Carolina offensive lineman Alan Pelc, Baylor linebacker Chris Francis, Penn State offensive lineman Lou Eliades, Illinois receiverquarterback Eddie McGee.

Raiders' Carr, Mack promote unity, racial harmony during national anthem

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USATSI

Raiders' Carr, Mack promote unity, racial harmony during national anthem

OAKLAND – All eyes shifted to the Raiders sideline Saturday night when the national anthem played.

Yep, Marshawn Lynch took a seat. No shocker there. He did the same thing last week, and while he hasn’t addressed it specifically, the action is linked with other anthem protests bringing attention to mistreatment of minorities in the United States.

Bruce Irvin stood with his brethren but raised his fist, as he did several times last year.

Derek Carr stood right on the sideline, and put his arm on Khalil Mack’s left shoulder. That gesture wasn't happenstance. It carried a message. It wasn’t, Carr insists, meant to protest anything.

“We’re not doing anything like that,” Carr said after a 24-21 loss to the Los Angeles Rams at Oakland Coliseum. “We wanted to show the kids that look up to me, look up to him, white kids, black kids, brown kids, blue, green, it doesn’t matter -- all be loving to each other. We’re best friends and we’re loving to one another.

“The only reason we did that was to unify the people that look up to us because obviously you see what’s going on in the world. Obviously everyone pays attention to the national anthem nowadays. We just said that obviously this was the best time to do it while still honoring this country because I love this country. We’re free to live here and play this game but we’re also free to show that we love one another.”

Mack isn’t one to rock the boat. He and Carr wanted to make a statement without ruffling feathers, something that would remain positive while addressing racial issues prevalent in the news today.

“It’s discussed a lot,” Mack said. “It’s one of the things I feel passionately about but I just don’t like the tension that comes with it. But at the same time, just using our platform for positivity is what’s important to me.”

Offensive coordinator Todd Downing put an arm on fullback Jamize Olawale and echoed the Carr-Mack message. We’ve seen similar signs of unity across the league. Philadelphia defensive end Chris Long, son of former Raiders pass rusher Howie Long, put an arm around Malcolm Jenkins while he protested. Seattle center Justin Britt put an hand on Michael Bennett’s shoulder while he sat for the national anthem.

Those actions drew attention. Carr and Mack do the same.

Their star power increases the volume of their message. Carr’s an MVP candidate and the league’s highest-paid player. Mack is the reigning Defensive Player of the Year. When they do something, people pay attention. That was their hope on Saturday, when the cameras would be aimed at them.

Carr and Mack are good friends off the field, and want to be an example of unity despite different races and backgrounds.

“I think that’s the message, the only message we were trying to get out,” Carr said. “Any kid, any family, any adult that follows us and looks up to us we knew their eyes would be on us and we wanted to show them for a white kid and black kid that grew up in different neighborhoods can grow up and love one another and be best friends.”

As legal process unfolds, Raiders CB Sean Smith continues to battle for playing time

As legal process unfolds, Raiders CB Sean Smith continues to battle for playing time

OAKLAND – Raiders cornerback Sean Smith had a rough week. He’s losing grip on a starting spot, but that concern pales in comparison to mounting legal issues that put him in a Los Angeles County jail Thursday morning.

He was formally charged with felony assault and battery for beating his sister’s boyfriend on July 4 in his hometown of Pasadena, surrendered to authorities and was released on an $80,000 bond.

He was back in the East Bay to play Saturday’s exhibition against the Los Angeles Rams, where he was a third cornerback entering in sub packages. Smith had two tackles and a nice pass defensed in the end zone.

Smith’s legal issues shouldn’t stop him from playing and practicing with the team in the near future. He has an arraignment sent for Sept. 29, where will plead not guilty and fight the charges levied against him.

“We’ll let him battle what issues he has legally,” Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio said. “I don’t have much to add to it. You hear the story of him defending his sister, and things occurred that have been taken issue with, so he's having to defend himself right now.”

An NFL spokesman said the league is looking into the matter, but didn’t have further comment at this time. It’s possible the league could place Smith on the commissioner’s exemption list, an option for players charged with violent offenses. He would essentially go on paid leave if that were the case. Smith will make $9.5 million in guaranteed money this season.

Smith will battle TJ Carrie and first-round cornerback Gareon Conley – he remains on the PUP list with a shin injury – for playing time in the Raiders defense. He practiced better last week, but must show consistency to get back in the team’s good graces.