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Raiders’ rookie has long history with team: ‘Truly a dream come true’

If Jackson Powers-Johnson wasn’t born to be a Raider, he was certainly raised to be a member of his family’s favorite team.

His mother posted photos of his bedroom adorned with a Raiders blanket at the foot of his bed on social media when the second-round pick prepared to leave for his first minicamp.

“It’s humbling,” Powers-Johnson said after walking into the team facility for the first time. “The first NFL game I ever went to was a Raiders game and there’s just so much rich history of just people who are just absolutely nuts and just want to get after it and that’s how I play. So I think it’s just a great fit for me. Then just being able to put on these colors, put it on the helmet, put it on my chest, is a truly a dream come true.”

Powers-Johnson, a standout offensive lineman who grew up in Utah and played collegiately at Oregon, didn’t remember all the details of his first Raiders experience.

Based on the few memories he still has, he likely took an 18-6 preseason win against the 49ers at Oakland Coliseum in 2008 when he was 5-years-old.

“My parents were just kind of holding me because all the fans were all crazy,” Powers-Johnson said. “But I thought it was so cool that they’re just like getting after it and cussing up a storm. You love fans like those. You don’t want fans that are quiet and sit back and drink their tea. No, you want fans that are ready to go. So they embody what kind of physicality you want to play with.”

Those fans aren’t the reason he put on pads for the first time, however. It wasn’t his dreams of playing for the Raiders, either.

“This game means everything to me,” Powers-Johnson said. “I got into this game for my mental health. I was a big chubby kid growing up and I got bullied.”

Powers-Johnson’s youth baseball coach said football could be an outlet. He’d be able to hit some of his tormentors back and there wouldn’t be any repercussions.

“Ever since then, I think my physicality and violence has kind of turned into more protection,” Powers-Johnson said. “I think there’s no better honor or privilege than to protect somebody. You think about our armed forces, think about police, you think about all of them protecting us. That’s what we get to do on the field. So, it’s a humbling thing for me to do.”

Powers-Johnson is particularly fired up to be doing it with this organization.

“If you buy into the logo on the front, it’s going to bless the name on the back,” he said. “So I’m just excited to play for the Raiders.

“I’m excited to be a Raider. I’m really excited. The autumn wind is a pirate. I love it.”

Powers-Johnson is pleased the draft process is over and he can focus on football again. He can learn a playbook, prepare to protect his new quarterbacks and get ready to clear lanes for the Raiders’ runners.

“I mean, this is just a huge new opportunity for me to do and for me to be out here,” Powers-Johnson said. “For all the hard work and preparation and dedication I’ve put in my entire life, now you get to actually go have fun and play football. The dream has been achieved, but now there’s new dreams to get after. So yeah, there’s a little bit of sentiment walking out today, but now it’s just on to the next.”

Contact Adam Hill at ahill@reviewjournal.com. Follow @AdamHillLVRJ on X.

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