About a year ago at this time, when word got out that if a lot of things fell into place, there might be 53 Las Vegas Raiders, and a practice squad of them, and no doubt a few on injured reserved, the first guy I called was David Humm.
David Humm was the original Las Vegas Raider.
After starring at Bishop Gorman High and Nebraska, Humm carved a niche as a NFL backup quarterback. He wore a baseball cap and carried a clipboard for 10 seasons with four teams, two of which were called Raiders, Oakland and Los Angeles. Every now and then, when his pal Kenny Stabler was injured, Humm would have to go in, and then somebody like Richard Dent of the Chicago Bears would toss him on his ear.
David Humm wore the silver-and-black shield with pride and dignity. When he contracted multiple sclerosis in 1988 when he was 36, he continued to host a radio show for the Raiders. This season he and hard-hitting George Atkinson marked their 22nd year as broadcast hosts.
When Raiders owner Mark Davis filed for relocation to Las Vegas on Thursday, Humm was no less thrilled than he was a year ago. But this time he couched his remarks with conciliatory ones about loyal Raiders fans in Oakland.
“I couldn’t be happier for Al Davis — Mr. Davis — and for Mrs. Davis, and for Mark, don’t get me wrong. But for all the loyal fans in Oakland, it breaks my heart,” Humm, 64, said Thursday before the ink was dry on the relocation papers.
There is no other way to look at it, Humm said.
But whereas it once might have appeared it would take a Hail Mary pass to bring the Raiders to town, or that “Holy Roller” play Stabler pulled off against the Chargers in ’78, now the referee is holding his hands much closer together, like when it’s third down or fourth and less than a foot to go.
“For the Raiders to come to my hometown, you think about the possibilities,” Humm said. “Driving traffic, ticket sales, seeing the hotels, which (if NFL owners vote “yes” on relocation) are going to get to host a Raiders game.
“The upside is mind-blowing. The shield is magic. It holds a lot of power for a lot of different groups.”
RAIDERS REDUX, PART II
The silver-and-black shield still holds sway over Frank Hawkins, too.
The former Western High and UNR star and College Football Hall of Famer was a Raiders running back from 1981 to 1987. He is excited the Raiders have filed for relocation.
At first, Hawkins was skeptical.
When it was revealed there would be a public component to the financing of a proposed 65,000-seat, $1.9 billion domed stadium, he was opposed. An amended Senate Bill 1, passed by Nevada lawmakers in October, alleviated many of Hawkins’ concerns. The public money, $750 million, will be funded by bonds backed by a hotel room tax increase.
So now Hawkins is like his old Los Angeles Raiders teammate David Humm. He’s thrilled for his hometown, but crestfallen for Raiders fans in Oakland who are going to have to deal with losing their team again, it would appear.
“The thing people didn’t really understand was that Oakland couldn’t afford to keep the Raiders, just like Oakland couldn’t afford to keep the Warriors,” the former Las Vegas City Councilman said about the financial burden of building new football stadiums and basketball arenas.
Hawkins, 57, was the Raiders’ second-leading rusher from 1983 through 1985. He said he still is involved in the low income housing industry in the Las Vegas valley and recently opened a marijuana dispensary. He was in the Dominican Republic when we talked Thursday night.
Frank Hawkins did not say what he has doing in the Dominican Republic, only that it had nothing to do with recruiting baseball shortstops.
DRAFT NOTICE FOR KASKIE
During her soccer career at UCLA, Palo Verde High’s Lauren Kaskie played on a national championship team, scored a clutch goal that ended a long losing streak against Stanford and saw her playing time reduced before being one of three players selected by the Chicago Red Stars in the recent National Women’s Soccer League draft.
“I’ve pretty much seen all viewpoints as a player,” she said Friday about being the Red Stars’ fourth-round pick.
The midfielder said she didn’t think she would be drafted. But now she has high hopes of becoming the second Palo Verde product to play pro soccer in the Windy City — Matt Polster, who was a couple of years ahead of her in high school, is a defender for Major League Soccer’s Chicago Fire.
“At the end of the day, I still have to earn a spot,” she said about Red Stars training camp that begins in March.
TAKING A KNEE
• After the Brooklyn Nets cut former NBA overall No. 1 draft pick Anthony Bennett of UNLV so he could pursue a pro basketball career in Turkey, one scout anonymously told the Sporting News the Cleveland Cavaliers (who drafted Bennett) did not get “the full scoop” on him. “UNLV’s staff would say nice things about people. They tolerate a lot. The Cavs got a rosy version of his work ethic and attitude,” the scout said.
• Story in the San Diego Union-Tribune in the run-up to the Aztecs-Rebels game at the Thomas & Mack Center: “It’s hard to imagine another college basketball program of such pedigree sliding into mediocrity so quickly, so dramatically, so precipitously. Consider: The Rebels have had more head coaches (four) in the last 12 months than returning players (three).”
• Local author Kirk McKnight will be signing copies of his book “The Voices of Hockey: Broadcasters Reflect on the Fastest Game on Earth” at 6 p.m. Friday at Barnes and Noble, 567 N. Stephanie in Henderson.
• Sierra Vista High’s Chris Carter, who co-led the National League with 41 home runs last season but was cut by the Milwaukee Brewers, still hasn’t signed with another big league club. According to ESPN, you can add the Miami Marlins to the list of possible suitors.
• In the last paragraph of a Review-Journal story about the likelihood of the Raiders playing in Sam Boyd Stadium until a new stadium is built, Clark County commissioner Steve Sisolak paid homage to the Vegas Golden Knights, our NHL expansion franchise that will drop the puck this fall.
“That changed the landscape forever,” Sisolak said. “We owe our thanks to (team owner) Bill Foley and the Golden Knights.”
He did not preface it by saying “Oh, yeah, I almost forgot” or “Make sure you put that in there.”