Bay Area, CA| Having finally completed an honest-to-goodness rebuild, the Raiders have given up their decade-plus tenure as NFL laughingstock. With that comes new hope, new opportunities, increased media coverage/scrutiny, more nationally televised games, and higher expectations (Super Bowl!). With all of that looking ahead of us, I bring you just a few of this weeks headlines in RaiderNation.
Penn Holdout Continues (NFL.com): The standoff between GM Reggie McKenzie and LT Donald Penn continues, with both sides standing firm. McKenzie has stated that he expects Penn to, at minimum, show up to Raiders training camp in Napa, CA. McKenzie says that he believes that something will get done, which is probably good news for Penn and Raiders fans. However, that has not yet happened – Penn has not showed up. He’s reportedly looking for Top-10 LT money, which is more than fair when compared to Penn’s productivity against his ranking in pay. I’ve said the Raiders need to pay Penn at $10M per season – adding 1-2 years to the length of his current deal.
Sean Smith’s Woes (SJ Mercury News): The highly touted free agent acquisition from division rival Kansas City Chiefs had a less than stellar Raiders debut last season. Going into training camp there has been cautious optimism that last year was some kind of fluke, with emphasis on communication amongst the defensive secondary as the culprit. While that reasoning provided some hope among fans, his apparent demotion to second team does not bode well for the Raiders, or Smith, if it is long-term. Particularly for Smith, who does not have any guaranteed money beyond this season coming to him.
Carr weighs in on Kaepernick (ESPN): Regrets for the following (partial) non-sports take, but Colin Kaepernick should not only be applauded for his activism efforts, but he should be in camp competing for a starting job – or at least a backup for many teams. Carr seems to agree, opining that from a football player’s perspective Kaep can still very much help a football team win. Hey, NFL owners: This charade has gone on long enough.
Being Jim Plunkett (Bleacher Report): In a heartbreaking interview, Raiders legendary QB Jim Plunkett talked about his life after football, the medical problems he’s afflicted with, and literally flatly said that his life “sucks.” While there are definitely harder lives to be led than being someone of Plunkett’s stature, it is a reminder of the toll that the game has taken on some of our childhood heroes. Heart goes out to all that suffer.