Programming note: For complete coverage of the Raiders joint practices with the Cowboys in Oxnard, watch SportsNet Central tonight at 6:00, 10:30 & midnight on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area.
OXNARD – Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is a big proponent of moving an NFL team into the Los Angeles market. So is Magic Johnson, a local sports legend, part owner of baseball’s Los Angeles Dodgers and a business leader in the community.
Both guys were at Wednesday’s joint practice between the Raiders and Cowboys in Southern California.
So was Raiders owner Mark Davis, who is looking for a new stadium in Oakland but has explored options in San Antonio.
Coincidence? You be the judge.
Davis said he didn’t speak with Jones about San Antonio. Johnson told Yahoo! Sports that he didn’t speak to Davis about coming back to L.A., where the Raiders played from 1982-1994.
There was no ignoring a post-practice pairing, when Jones, Davis and Michael Ovitz -- the latest to present a stadium model to attract a team to L.A. -- stood together when press nearby.
Johnson was not right there but is a longtime Raiders fan, dating back to their stint in L.A., said he’d welcome the Silver and Black back with open arms.
"It would be great to have the Raiders back in LA. I would love for that to happen,” Johnson said, according to Yahoo. “But that's going to be up to Mark and the Raiders and the NFL. But I would love to have the Raiders back in LA, where they belong. We just want a team, we want a team in the worst way."
There’s been big talk about a new stadium to attract a team to the nation’s second-largest city, without much action. Without getting specific, Johnson believes they’re ever closer to making big moves in that direction.
"I think for the first time, I truly believe we're going to get a team," Johnson said. "Finally, everybody is on board. The city is on board. The business community is on board. The NFL is on board. Finally we have momentum. In the next couple years, at least in the next 24 months, I think one team will be coming. I don't know what team that will be, but I believe in the next two years we'll have a team."
There are several factors that will impact if a team moves back, and, if so, which one heads there. One is a team willing to move, and the Raiders are a team that fits that bill. Their lease with O.co Coliseum expires at season's end, with no tangible progress to show towards a long-term solution in the East Bay. Davis has grown increasingly frustrated with the process in recent months. He flirted with San Antonio, and said in March that he has thought about Los Angeles.
If Wednesday’s joint practice was any indication, the Raiders still have a huge fan base here. Raiders fans frequently chanted “Bring them back! Bring them back!” to Los Angeles.
[PRACTICE 14: Massive Raiders crowd at joint session with Cowboys]
Davis carefully tiptoed through an interview with local reporters, careful to avoid saying anything inflammatory.
Back in March, before the latest round of East Bay tomfoolery regarding the Coliseum Stadium site and an Athletics lease extension, Davis expressed that he had “thought about Los Angeles, but haven’t pursued it.” In the future, that may change.
It’s clear the Raiders have a built-in fan base.
“I know that we would be embraced down there,” Davis said in March. “There’s no question about that.”