Long-time fans of the Raiders and 49ers have been suffering lately. Their teams aren’t winning and certain players don’t really want to be on their rosters. This is a new phenomenon for Raiders owner Al Davis, who lately has been forced to over-pay his own players to keep them from leaving.
Michael Crabtree continues to withhold his services from the 49ers, and I have to believe this would never have happened if Eddie DeBartolo still owned the team and the late Bill Walsh was still in the front office. Walsh might not have tempted fate with Crabtree, instead passing on him in the draft. But regardless, the player’s holdout situation would be resolved by today if Eddie and Bill were around. Players didn’t hold them hostage.
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It appears that Richard Seymour will eventually join the Raiders, maybe in time to play Monday night against the Chargers, but in the old days he would have been on the first plane to Oakland. I can remember when Hall of Fame cornerback Mike Haynes couldn’t wait to get out of New England and his first choice was the Raiders. For decades, many NFL players wanted to play for either the Raiders or the 49ers.
Why? Because those franchises won and paid extremely well.
Today, they’re at opposite end of the football spectrum. The 49ers are making a respectable comeback, but no one says they’re Super Bowl-ready. The Raiders have slipped even further and now Davis runs the team without any input from anyone else in his front office. He makes all the decisions, signs all the deals and makes all the trades.
Just think of these great Raiders: Ted Hendricks, Jim Plunkett, Lyle Alzado and Haynes. None of them started their NFL careers with the Raiders, but all of them loved their experience there. Heck, even Hall of Famers Ronnie Lott and Rod Woodson played for the Raiders. Jerry Rice, too.
Seymour said Patriots coach Bill Belichick blind-sided him by trading him. But Seymour had to know that Vince Wilfork, a younger and more productive defensive lineman, had taken financial priority over him in New England. When Belichick drafted defensive tackle Ron Brace in the second round this year, well, that should have been another indicator.
Seymour is a descending player; no longer a premier lineman. But Davis paid a 2011 first-round pick for Seymour because his team is desperate for quality DL.
For New England, the beauty of the 2011 choice is that Belichick, who figures the Raiders’ pick will be in the top 10, is hoping NFL commissioner Roger Goodell somehow implements a rookie wage scale by then.
Belichick did exactly what Bill Walsh used to do. Walsh always got rid of “star” players — ones he could definitely win without — while they still had value.
Seymour could eventually be happy in Oakland; most believe Davis will give him the blockbuster contract that Belichick would not. You may not just win, baby, but the dollars might buy happiness!