I got a great opportunity to attend a star studded charity event on Friday night. The All-Star Celebrity Fantasy Football Draft Party was thrown by Fox Sports and Yarbarker in San Francisco. Thanks goes to Diana over at Yardbarker for the hookup. The event was hosted by former 49er Ronnie Lott, and featured former ball players Tim Brown, Jerry Rice, Ted Hendricks, Marcus Allen, Warren Moon, Tom Rathman, and many others. There were a couple current Raiders, including one the newest, Darren McFadden.
My experience was definitely surreal at times. One minute I’m playing Nintendo Wii next to McFadden (the event had a couple Wii stations), and the next he’s being hounded by guys with media passes who want to ask meaningless questions like about his relationship with JaMarcus Russell, and what it feels like to be a Raider. The man’s been in the NFL for only two months, training camp hasn’t even started yet. I would be surprised if he has any true feelings or thoughts on his first few months with the Raiders. Hell, I bet since mid-January he’s been through hundreds of interviews, worked in the gym for hundreds of hours, been on a dozen plane flights, and has had to move his life 2,500 miles from home.
One of McFadden’s first chances to organize his life has come during this stretch of off-time between the end of mini-camps and the start of training camp. Maybe he’s now starting to reflect on the last 6 months, but I’m sure he’d rather just stick to business and put the interviews on hold for a minute. He had to sell himself to scouts, coaches, and fans for about four months straight; imagine all the interviews he had no choice but to do. I wonder how many times he’s been asked the same questions, and how many times he had to just suck it up and answer (maybe with a little twist, but still the same answer). I frankly just wanted to play video games with the guy, shoot the shit, and not ask him how many carries he thinks he’s gonna get this season.
After McFadden left to an adjoining room for more interviews I just wandered around looking for more Raiders. I talked to Ted Hendricks for a second mainly to see if he remembered playing high school ball against my father; he didn’t. Overheard former Niner Keena Turner give this shout out to Yardbarker; “I don’t know what they do, but whoever they (Yarbarker) are they’re doing a great job”. Turner, the interviewer, and all that could overhear started laughing. I talked to a couple other different players, but really wanted to keep to the mood of the laidback evening. In other words I really didn’t ask anything worth posting on a blog, I actually think I might have talked about other sports more than football. But there was one guy that I knew I wanted to chat with. Check out my next article for the interview.