Updated September 23, 2022 - 11:38 am
The first few condolence texts Raiders offensive lineman Jermaine Eluemunor got on the morning of Sept. 8 were confusing. As more poured in, he started to grow concerned.
Eluemunor called home to check with his parents in New Jersey. He wanted to know if someone close to him had died.
His mother mentioned Queen Elizabeth’s death, but even though Eluemunor is a London native, he dismissed that possibility. But as it turns out, that’s why his teammates and friends were texting him.
“It just didn’t stop,” Eluemunor said after Thursday’s practice. “It’s been such a huge deal over here, much bigger than I thought it was. Derek (Carr) put his arm around me and asked if I needed a day off from practice to recover. The coaches, the training staff, everyone was coming up and checking on me. It was ridiculous.
“It’s not that I didn’t care. I would just say I wasn’t as intrigued with the royal family as a lot of others were.”
Eluemunor, who moved to the United States when he was 14 to pursue his football dreams, couldn’t even get away from it at home.
His fiancee, Tina, who is from Texas, has become fascinated with the royal family through the Netflix series “The Crown.”
“When I met her, she didn’t know anything about the queen, but she’s watching this show and now she’s mad at me because I didn’t pay proper tribute to the queen,” Eluemunor said with a laugh. “She’s trying to lecture me about her. She even said I should be over there for the funeral. During the season!”
Eluemunor joked that she should run that idea by coach Josh McDaniels and general manager Dave Ziegler.
But it turns out, Eluemunor had a connection with Elizabeth II. During a school trip when he was 7, he was using crayons to draw Buckingham Palace when he was approached by guards.
They went inside, then returned to tell young Eluemunor that the queen would like his drawing.
“She hung it in her gallery,” Eluemunor said. “She sent me a letter and a plaque and everything. My parents still have it back in their house in New Jersey. I was in the paper and on TV. I really didn’t think anything of it, and I really didn’t even remember it until all this happened.”
Was the drawing any good?
“I like to think so,” Eluemunor said. “If the queen wants your picture, it has to be somewhat good, right?”
Center Andre James returned to practice for the first time since suffering a concussion on the final offensive play of the Week 1 loss to the Chargers. He was listed as limited and wore a red no-contact jersey, as he has not cleared the NFL’s protocols.
Running back Josh Jacobs was added to the injury report with an illness that caused him to miss practice after participating in full Wednesday. Fullback Jakob Johnson popped up on Thursday’s report aslimited with a hamstring injury.
Eluemunor was upgraded to full participation with a hip issue, and defensive tackle Neil Farrell Jr. did not participate Thursday after he was limited Wednesday by a shoulder ailment. Defensive tackle Bilal Nichols also has a shoulder injury, but had a limited practice after missing Wednesday.
Safety Tre’von Moehrig (hip), linebacker Denzel Perryman (ankle) and wide receiver Hunter Renfrow (concussion) missed a second straight day of practice.
Linebacker Blake Martinez will visit with the Raiders on Friday, three days after he visited the Ravens and left Baltimore without a contract.
The former Stanford player missed most of last season with a torn ACL and was released by the Giants before the start of the season.
Martinez, 28, has played in 80 games and made 76 starts with the Packers and Giants. He has 686 tackles and 13 sacks in six seasons.