ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) — Heading into the offseason with uncertainty is old hat for the Oakland Raiders, who have had nine head coaches and 17 starting quarterbacks during a 13-year stretch of no winning record or playoff berths.
With quarterback Derek Carr and coach Jack Del Rio entrenched in their positions, the questions this offseason surround whether the team will play in Oakland or in the Los Angeles area next year.
“We’ll all find out at the same time,” Carr said Monday. “We don’t get any inside information. We don’t have any right now. The thing that matters, though, is that no matter what’s in front of it, we’re always the Raiders. No matter what city is put in front of that, we love Oakland. This is where I’ve played, so I love Oakland. I love our fans. But I know that Raider Nation is everywhere. It doesn’t matter what’s put in front, we’re always the Raiders.”
The Raiders are expected to apply to relocate to the L.A. suburb of Carson this week. The players and coaches spent Monday packing up and putting closure on a 7-9 season that featured significant improvement for a franchise that had just 11 wins the previous three years combined.
The St. Louis Rams and San Diego Chargers also are expected to apply to move to the Los Angeles area. NFL owners will meet next week in Houston to vote on whether to allow one or two of the franchises to relocate next season.
The Rams are seeking to build a stadium in Inglewood, while the Raiders and Chargers want to share a stadium in Carson.
Most of the players deflected questions about a possible move by saying it is outside their control. But Carr did say the biggest impact would be on the families of players and coaches.
“People always think about us, but they shouldn’t,” he said. “They should think about our wives, our kids. Some people have kids in school, so they have to move and those kinds of things. It affects them way more than it affects us. We just show up and work. That’s how we’ve been trained. That’s our process. It definitely affects them more.”
Defensive tackle Dan Williams said the uncertainty is much harder on married players with families than those without.
“Me as a single guy, I go with the flow,” he said. “But I definitely enjoyed my short time here in Oakland. The fans have received me with open arms and I can feel the support here. They love the Raiders and whatever happens, happens, but at the same time if we stay here I’ll be more than happy.”
The Raiders played this past season on a one-year lease at the Oakland Coliseum and are seeking a new home. The Coliseum is the only remaining NFL stadium to also be home to a baseball team and lacks many of the modern, money-making features of new stadiums.
While owner Mark Davis has expressed interest in staying in Oakland, the city has yet to come up with a firm financing plan to build a new stadium. That has led to the interest in going back to Los Angeles, where the Raiders played from 1982-94.
Del Rio, who grew up in the East Bay attending games at the Oakland Coliseum, said: “I’m back home. I love the fact that I’m back home but it’s not my position. As a head football coach it’s my job to get this team ready to play and make sure we’re competitive.”
The Raiders also will undergo some turnover on their roster with the retirement of safety Charles Woodson after an 18-year career and 12 other players will be eligible to be unrestricted free agents in March.
The most notable is left tackle Donald Penn, who has anchored the line the past two seasons after coming over as a free agent from Tampa Bay. Penn said he would like to return
“It’s not up to me,” he said. “I did everything I could. Now it’s the business side. I got to sit back and wait until I hear something.”
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