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Raiders mailbag: What happened to Sebastian Janikowski?

Updated August 9, 2018 - 10:06 pm

Jerry once asked George if he’s confident in getting the “I love you” return from his girlfriend.

“If you don’t get that return, that’s a pretty big matzo ball hanging out there,” Jerry said in the “Seinfeld” scene.

George never got that return.

Today, we’re faced with the possibility of leaving matzo balls hanging on a daily basis.

Ever ask a question on a group text only to be ignored?

It’s an embarrassing feeling. You consider making new friends because it’s been 10 minutes and no one has acknowledged your “Mimosas Sunday?” text that was sent at 2 p.m. on a Tuesday.

We’ve all been there. This new technology is rough on the social life confidence.

I put myself out there last week when I asked Raider Nation on Twitter to send me questions to kick off the Review-Journal’s first Raiders mailbag.

For nearly 24 hours, the silver and black faithful left me on read.

Then Bay Area native Carlo Ammatuna rescued me from my lonely island with a thoughtful email.

Ammatuna mentioned how he developed a strong fandom for the Raiders at the age of 8 when the team returned to Oakland in 1995 after leaving Los Angeles.

He plans on continuing to cheer for the Raiders when they move to Las Vegas in 2020.

“No other football team could win me over and no other sports team could capture my attention quite in the same way that Al Davis’ Raiders could,” Ammatuna’s email read. “I’d put up with the losing, with a few negative experiences at the Coliseum and with the ever present rumors of leaving Oakland.

“Even through the talks of moving to Santa Clara, Carson and San Antonio, none of that mattered (as long) as the Raiders moved to the best option that would better the team and secure the greatness they always strived for.”

Raiders fans in Northern California can relate to Ammatuna. They’ll eventually have to decide, if they haven’t already, if the Raiders will remain their favorite team when the moving trucks arrive.

There’s no right or wrong decision, but keep in mind, the Raiders won’t forget where they come from. The Raiders make their history a priority, and that’s evident in how well they treat their alumni players.

The location of the new home stadium will be nearly 600 miles away, but the team mantra and national aura should remain the same.

If you’re on the fence, wait until the Raiders play the Rams at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum next week for a preseason game. The former home of the Raiders will probably be covered in black.

The Raiders left L.A. 24 years ago and still remain the city’s favorite NFL team, even with the Rams and Chargers recently moving into town.

It’s hard to give up on the Raiders.

New faces on special teams

The second email I received was a lot shorter and didn’t have a name, just a phone number with a 702 area code.

So we at least know he’s local, and he might have been stuck in a time machine.

“What is the latest information on Oakland kicker (Sebastian) Janikowski?” 702 local asked. “Still on the team? Traded? Retired? Other info?”

I hate to break the bad news, 702 local. Janikowski is now kicking for the Seahawks after the Raiders parted ways with the franchise’s all-time leading scorer in the spring.

Janikowski’s 18-year run with the Raiders was recently put into perspective.

Giorgio Tavecchio was the starting kicker for the Raiders in 2017. He’s no longer on the team after being cut last week.

Rookie Eddy Pineiro and veteran Mike Nugent are vying for the starting gig in 2018.

Special teams was once an area of stability for the Raiders when Janikowski and punter Shane Lechler were doing the kicking.

The Raiders drafted Janikowski in the first round and selected Lechler in the fifth round of the 2000 draft. The two were paired together for 13 seasons.

The Raiders potentially could have a rookie kicker-punter tandem again this season with Pineiro and punter Johnny Townsend.

“We kind of compare our game a lot to those guys, Janikowski and Lechler,” Townsend said Wednesday. “They’re two of the best to ever to do it, especially to wear the Raider brand. We try to model our game after them.”

Good or bad trade?

Miguel Zavala tweeted “Bad trade. What about (Seth) Roberts?”

He was referring to the draft day trade the Raiders executed in April to land wide receiver Martavis Bryant after giving up a third-round pick to the Steelers.

Bryant’s struggles to grasp Raiders coach Jon Gruden’s offense have been made public this training camp.

He also hasn’t received many snaps with the first-team offense.

That could change after Bryant made dazzling plays with Connor Cook throwing him passes Wednesday in a joint practice against the Lions, whom the Raiders face Friday in the preseason opener.

Roberts doesn’t seem like the candidate to take Bryant’s snaps if he can’t leave Gruden’s doghouse before the regular season arrives.

The Raiders have been impressed with Ryan Switzer, who also joined the Raiders this spring on a draft day trade.

At first, it seemed Switzer was going to be solely a return specialist. He can now be the starting slot receiver.

It’s too soon to grade the Bryant trade, but the Raiders might have insurance with their other trade.

Contact Gilbert Manzano at gmanzano@reviewjournal.com. Follow @GManzano24 on Twitter.

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