Raiders owner Mark Davis is focused on building the franchise his father turned into one of sports’ most iconic brands back into relevance on the football field, but he can’t shake off questions about Al’s legacy in Oakland being continued into the future.
With Davis extending the Raiders stadium lease in the Oakland Coliseum for another year and Oakland mayor Jean Quan continuing to drag her feet on both the Oakland A’s and the Raiders when it comes to getting new venues in place to keep the MLB/NFL franchises in the Bay Area it seems that the potential is still there for the Raiders to leave within the decade for the second time in the franchise’s deep history.
Still Davis is adamant that his number one goal is to keep the Silver and Black in Oakland.
“We’re not done in Oakland. We’re trying really hard, and we’ll see how that goes,” Davis said Sunday at the outset of the NFL Annual Meeting, via CSNBayArea.com. “But Los Angeles is something that I’ve definitely thought about and haven’t pursued. There are other places as well. Until we can find out if Oakland is real, then I’m still staying in Oakland. If we can get something done in Oakland, I will stay in Oakland.”
Despite his commitment to keeping the team in Oakland long term, Davis admits that back and forth discussions as well as kept promises with the city’s mayor have been a challenge as well as a roadblock in getting a deal done.
“(Oakland mayor Jean Quan) stated publicly that she wanted to have a deal done by the end of last football season,” Davis said. “That came and went. Now she’s talking about this summer. We’ll see how that goes, but we’re trying. We’re really trying.
If that deal does not happen the Raiders owner seems confident that the global reach of the team and their diehard fanbase will continue the Commitment to Excellence elsewhere as they did in Los Angeles all those years ago in the 80’s and for a part of the 90’s.
“We have a phenomenal fan base. It’s a true Raider nation,” Davis said. “That’s the thing about us. We’re global with our fans. We just have to have a place that they’re proud of to go and play. That’s all I’m looking for.”
As for LA, Davis knows that the Raiders popularity in the state of California as well as their history in Los Angeles makes them a potential destination along with Portland who want an NFL team to match their MLS franchise success with the Timbers.
“I know that we would be well embraced down there,” Davis said. “There’s no question about that.”
While no deadline has been made, Davis also told CSNBayArea that with the team extending their lease for another season that after the 2014 NFL season the Raiders will once again be weighing their options giving Mayor Quan and the city council a deadline for deciding whether or not they want to work with the franchise in remaining in the city under good faith.
“What we’ve done is sign a one-year extension to our lease and we’ll play (at the Oakland Coliseum) this season. At the end of this season, we have to determine what’s going to happen.”