RENO — A familiar face greeted Raiders president Marc Badain when he walked off the school bus parked in front of Wooster High School on Thursday.
It wasn’t Raiders coach Jon Gruden, who is nicknamed after the possessed doll from the “Child’s Play” horror movies. But it was a Chucky doll, sticking out of the backpack of Wooster principal Leah Keuscher.
Badain, with other team officials, Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak and Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve, spent Thursday afternoon in Reno touring potential sites for the team’s offseason program, which typically runs from the end of July to mid-August.
Badain called seeing the Chucky doll “the highlight” of the day.
After the tour, Badain said he wants to bring the Raiders’ training camp to the Reno area when the team officially moves out of the Bay Area before the 2020 NFL season.
“I am committed to trying to make sure the training camp is in Northern Nevada,” Badain said.
The three sites the group toured Thursday included the University of Nevada, Reno, Wooster High and Hug High School.
Of the three, UNR has the most modern and extensive facilities, including multiple artificial turf fields, dormitories for the players, coaches and staff members and rooms to accommodate more than a dozen position group meetings the team holds daily during each training camp.
While Badain is set on having the Raiders in Northern Nevada, the sites explored Thursday might not be the only places the team considers for its Silver State training ground.
Badain noted that the team checked out about three dozen offseason camp locations in the mid-1990s before deciding on Napa, California.
“The most important thing, and what the Raiders have always stood for and what the Raiders will always be about, is making sure that the team comes first,” Badain said. “We’ll be exhaustive and look at everything that’s a possibility. And today was a great start.”
“I’m sure there will be a lot more visits up here,” Badain added.
If the Raiders decide to spend their summer practices in Reno, they will have to pay for any upgrades or remodels they may want done to meet the team’s needs.
Schieve said that she would love for the Raiders to spend training camps in Reno but would not support using local tax money on an offseason facility for the team.
“I won’t be supporting any tax dollars or room tax,” she said.