ALAMEDA, Calif. — The Raiders recorded the signature win of their season Sunday.
At times Wednesday, it largely seemed forgotten.
An eventful 72 hours followed the 24-21 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers. The latest headlines arose Wednesday from the NFL owner meetings in Irving, Texas, where the league named Las Vegas host for its 2020 draft and Raiders owner Mark Davis and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell discussed the franchise’s uncertain 2019 whereabouts.
This came after the Raiders fired general manager Reggie McKenzie on Sunday evening, which was followed Tuesday with the city of Oakland filing a federal antitrust and breach of contract lawsuit against the NFL and all 32 of its clubs, citing the Raiders’ “illegal” move to Las Vegas.
In Texas, Davis indicated to reporters he’s cast a wide net on where the Raiders could play their home games in 2019. At least one of eight regular-season games will be abroad, be it London or Mexico City. As for the others, Davis characterized almost every city about which he was asked, including San Diego and Santa Clara in California, as on the table.
“All options are open,” he said.
Goodell said in a news conference that the NFL must know by early January or February, as it plans to release the 2019 regular-season schedule in mid-April.
Across recent months, multiple people familiar with the Raiders’ thinking have said that Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas is not under consideration. Davis essentially ruled out San Antonio on Wednesday, too, citing concerns about field turf.
He did not rule out Oakland.
The Raiders must renew their lease to play at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. Tuesday’s lawsuit did not facilitate those negotiations, a point highlighted when the club pulled its lease extension offer from the table on Wednesday, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
Under its nixed proposal, the team would’ve paid $7.5 million to play at the Coliseum next season, up from the current $3.5 million.
“Emotionally, I don’t want to pay for my own lawsuit,” Davis said. “But for the fans, it’s something that I’ve got to think about.”
Back at Raiders headquarters, coach Jon Gruden and quarterback Derek Carr respectively met atypical questions in news conferences.
It began normally enough for Gruden. He was asked about his offensive line.
Neither of the two starting guards practiced Wednesday; left guard Kelechi Osemele (toe) and right guard Gabe Jackson (elbow, ankle) are dealing with injuries. Top backup Jon Feliciano (calf) was placed on injured reserve Tuesday.
Then, a reporter asked where he hopes to play in 2019.
“It’s always something every day here, isn’t it?” Gruden said. “I enjoy seeing you, answering all these questions. I want to play in Oakland, and I’m real sensitive like you would expect. It’s where I want to play. So, we’ll see what happens.”
For Carr, the first question did not relate to his franchise-long streak of eight consecutive games without an interception. It did not apply, either, to his two fourth-quarter touchdowns or any other aspect of Sunday afternoon.
He was asked about Sunday evening.
That is when Davis fired McKenzie, the man who drafted Carr in the 2014 second round.
“I had a good conversation with him after I found out the news,” Carr said of McKenzie. “I sent him a long text, and he sent me a long one back. It was special, man. Our relationship was special, and it always will be. You never saw anything that would make you think this would happen, but it is what it is. You wake up (Monday), and you see it and are like, ‘Oh, man!’”
The second, third and fourth questions for Carr all pertained to changes he’s witnessed in his NFL career. Before he was asked about the Cincinnati Bengals, who are Sunday’s road opponent, he was asked about the Denver Broncos.
The Raiders will host them Dec. 24 in what could be the franchise’s final home game in Oakland.
“That is crazy, and to me, that seems weird,” Carr said. “It just seems different to even have to think that way because I’ve spent five years playing in this stadium. We’ve had people talking trash about it or whatever they want, but I love it. It’s ours. It’s been fun, and the fact that it could be the last is crazy.
“But when that time comes, we will enjoy it.”
Surely, that game won’t easily be forgotten.