Editor’s note: Every Wednesday, as part of her “Vegas Nation: Takeaways” podcast, producer/videographer Heidi Fang talks to a Raiders player or personality. This has been edited for clarity and completeness. This week: retired linebacker Jerry Robinson.
Heidi Fang: You were born in San Francisco, a native of the Bay Area, played for the Raiders. What are your thoughts on the team’s move to Las Vegas?
Jerry Robinson: You’re talking about the Las Vegas Raiders. Allegiant Stadium. You know, one of the wonders of the world — what a beautiful place. And then, the headquarters in Henderson. Oh, my God. What — 335,000 square feet! I’m like, “These young brothers right here, they just don’t know how really good they have it.” You talk about wanting to go to work? Oh, man. I’d want to go to work and never go home because it’s such a beautiful thing. So I’m excited. The Las Vegas Raiders. Yes.
HF: You were a part of the Los Angeles teams at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. What was that experience like versus what you see now with this state-of-the-art stuff?
JS: Well, I went to UCLA, so I played in the LA Coliseum for four years and then I left, went to Eagles for six years and then came back home. I was back there where I played football in college. It was great to be home. The history behind the historical Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum — everybody knows — we had Olympics there … USC played there. UCLA played there also. But it didn’t take long to realize how old that stadium was.
There was an emotional tie for me …. But then when the game’s over and you’re headed to the showers and not all the showers are working. I would hear some of my friends that came to the visiting locker room, they were like, “This is crazy, man.” Here we are standing here, waiting to get in line because this shower head isn’t working. Then when you get there, you gotta cup your hands for a couple of seconds so you can get enough water on your hands so you could splash it on your face.
And now the Las Vegas Raiders, the Davis family, Mark, his mom, they have their own stadium. That means a lot to me to know that that’s what Al wanted. So these young guys now, they have their own home.
And then, then you get to go to the headquarters. When I played for the Los Angeles Raiders, we played in El Segundo — a little elementary school that Al took over. We’re sitting there. Talk about breakfast, lunch and dinner, okay? We’re sitting in those meetings and we’d hear that food truck hit that horn. Da-da-da-da-da! They’d turn off the projector and we’d go outside and get our lunch or get our breakfast and they did the same thing at lunchtime.
HF: What do y9u think these current linebackers are going to bring to the team, specifically free-agent pickups Cory Littleton and Nick Kwiatkoski? And what about the impact of new defensive line coach Rod Marinelli?
JR: I’m excited about the additions. And Rod Marinelli, you’re talking about a legend here. You’re talking about — the man knows what he’s doing. And you know what the deal is? When you’re playing, when you’re playing the game, it’s the coach’s job to put you in the best position to be successful. And that’s what Marinelli does. It’s up to you as a ballplayer, as an individual, to make sure you execute it.
And it’s a great feeling — at least it was for me and I’m sure it is for everybody else who’s ever played the game — when you know that that defense is called, that’s the right defense. … And this offseason with Littleton, and I’m just going to call him Nick K. (laughs) and some other people. I’m excited to watch our defense. I’m excited to watch our whole football team ‘cause we got something going on the offensive side. It’s just going to get, it’s going to get even better.
Heidi Fang can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Download the Vegas Nation podcasts three times a week at www.LVRJ/podcasts.