ALAMEDA (CBS SF) — A sense of nostalgia began to creep into the Raiders locker room Wednesday as preparations got underway for the team’s final game in Oakland.
After Sunday’s game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, the lights will go out. The famed ‘Black Hole’ will fall silent. Tears will be shed and the lockers will be emptied.
A city will be heartbroken. Again.
For the second time in team’s history, the Raiders will be departing the East Bay. In 1982 it was to the bright lights of Hollywood. Now, the club will be heading off to play in a high-tech wonder built among the neon lights of Las Vegas.
When asked Wednesday, head coach John Gruden admitted there will be plenty of emotion coursing through his veins on Sunday afternoon.
“It’s hard right now to really think about what it is going to be like stepping in there for the last time ever,” he told reporters. “Last time of the season is one thing. Last time ever really hits a tone with me and I’m sure a lot of people.”
He hopes his team can shake off the funk of a 3-game losing streak to end on a high note.
“We really want to do a great job providing the best effort that we can,” he said. “We can’t give any guarantees, but we want to try to give a memorable effort to our fans. It’ll be emotional.”
Starting quarterback Derek Carr has lived a childhood dream, playing for his father’s favorite team and on the same field as such Raider greats as Daryle Lamonica, Kenny Stabler and Jim Plunkett.
“Just put it in perspective, a little kid from Fresno is playing for his dad’s favorite football team,” he said. “Let’s be real about it. That’s pretty awesome. It’s a dream come true…To be here, play on the same field as all those legends… It is a really cool thing.”
Carr said he expects Raiders nation will turn out in force.
“I expect it to be crazy and loud and all those kind of things,” he said. “We are going to go out there and give it our best effort.”
As for favorite memories, Carr flashed back to the first time he was able to deliver a win in front of a home crowd.
“You never forget that first win,” he told reporters. “The rain pouring down. Latavius (Murray) running for all those yards. Throwing the game-winner to James Jones and the celebration that took place… I remember C Wood’s (Charles Woodson) last game, a fan running on the field and trying to grab him just to say thank you. The comeback wins.”
When asked if he has ever taken a glance into the stands during a game to watch the Raider fans crazy antics, a sly smile crept across Carr’s face.
“100 percent,” he said. “Without calling what I saw, yes. There have been multiple times that that has happened.”