Bess showing Oakland what it missed out on
DAVIE, Fla. — Davone Bess has tattoos on his back honoring his hometown Oakland A’s and Golden State Warriors.
As for the Oakland Raiders, that wouldn’t have been such a good idea.
“If I wasn’t playing football, I definitely would have gotten one,’’ the Oakland, Calif., product said of a Raiders tattoo.
So the Miami Dolphins wide receiver won’t have to face Oakland on Sunday at Sun Life Stadium wearing the opposing team’s logo.
Growing up, Bess was fan of the silver and black. He attended games at the now-named O.com Stadium whenever he could get his hands on tickets.
“I grew up literally like five minutes from the stadium,’’ Bess said. “I was a pretty big fan. Tim Brown, Napoleon Kaufman, Rich Gannon were my favorite players. We’d get tickets from the local YMCA sometimes. They’d hand them out. I couldn’t afford to go to the games (otherwise).’’
Then came the 2008 draft. The Raiders, like every other NFL team, passed over Bess, who had played in college at Hawaii.
It was a big mistake by the Raiders, considering two of their five picks that year were wide receivers.
Fourth-rounder Arman Shields spent a year on injured reserve and never played in an NFL game. Seventh-rounder Chaz Schilens caught 72 passes in four Oakland seasons before joining the New York Jets this season.
Bess has caught more passes in two different seasons than Schilens has in his career. He had 76 grabs in 2009 and 79 in 2010.
The Raiders did offer Bess a free-agent deal after he wasn’t drafted. But Bess deemed his best opportunity was with the Dolphins.
Bess was right about that. With five catches for 45 yards in last Sunday’s opener at Houston, he has hauled in 265 balls for 2,714 yards in his career.
Now, Bess will see his hometown team for the fourth time in his five seasons. In the previous three meetings, Bess caught 13 passes for 198 yards, and Miami won each time.
“It’s definitely a blessing being able to play against your home team you grew up watching your whole life,’’ said Bess, whose best game against the Raiders was six catches for 111 yards in a 33-17 win in 2010, the only NFL game he has played in Oakland. “But there’s time to get that out of my system and get ready to play the ballgame.’’
With each NFL season, Bess has become more established. He did something last spring that showed he’s not worried about getting traded and possibly having to change his jersey from No. 15.
He had No. 15 tattooed on his back. The digits are the same size as those on his Dolphins jersey.
After wearing No. 7 in college, the Dolphins assigned Bess his new number when he arrived as a rookie free agent. He soon fell in love with it, and wouldn’t budge when Pro Bowl wideout Brandon Marshall joined the team in 2010 after having worn No. 15 for Denver. Marshall was forced to change to No. 19 before being traded earlier this year to Chicago, where he’s back to No. 15.
“I can’t say,’’ said Bess, who wouldn’t budge despite the amount Marshall offered him for No. 15. “It was a lot. But it wasn’t worth it. It was deeper than the money.’’
Bess now displays his loyalty to No. 15 alongside his love for the A’s and the Warriors. As for the Raiders, let’s just say he’s moved on from them.
Chris Tomasson can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @christomasson