By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Saturday, September 12th, 2009 at 7:54 pm in Oakland Raiders.
A lot to sort through, but we’re going to start backwards with Al Davis talking more informally with reporters following Saturday evening’s press conference.
Included was a nice zinger directed toward Lane Kiffin right at the end after Tennessee beat UCLA 19-15, with the Volunteers coming up short on fourth-and-goal late in the game:
Q: Had you thought about doing throwback jerseys before?
Davis: Yeah, I though about doing it in past, but the league didn’t want us to do it. I was the one who designed the uniform. We used it in 1963 and it was great. The reason they didn’t want to use it in the past is the film cannot identify certain players in the throwback uniform, the silver numbers are tough to identity. So teams start complaining. So I stopped it, and we just did the black – we’ve never changed – and the white. I always loved those things. In ’63 everyone said, wow, that’s the best-looking uniform ever. But we just got away from it because of the filmwork. They’re always complaining about something. But we were alw messing ar w/ uniforms, bec we want to sell ‘em.”
Q: AFL what do you remember?
Davis: We’ll have a book out. We’re going to do a book.
Q: A book on just the Raiders or the whole AFL?
Davis: AFL. Of what really happened, between the AFL and the NFL, the merger, what really happened.
Q: Isn’t Showtime doing something on the AFL?
Davis: They may be. But they called me and said they won’t do it because I’m doing the book.
Q: What affect will an uncapped year have?
Davis: It will affect it, obviously it will change it. The thing is, the owner’s are hellbent on getting an agreement that they feel is more in line with what should be as far as the numbers are. I’m interested in the game. We’ve got John (Madden) in there, now, John’s interested in the game. That will help. There’s so many facets to that it just can’t be done (inaudubile), Michelle (Tafoya) asked me about the union filing a grievance. That’s like the union suing me for attacking someone. That’s how much credibility that grievance would get in a courtroom. It wouldn’t get any, and they were ready for it, they knew it, they just wanted everyone to know they were in existence. The main thing is this guy, we got him in here, wanted him, we got him in here, we want him to be great, and I think he’ll help us an awful lot.
Q: You mentioned trades helped you in the past . . .
Davis: There’s a ton of ‘em.
Q: Can you remember bringing in a guy who played after being with the team 48 hours?
Davis: (John) Matuszak played the second year, the second game, in ’76. We won the opener. We beat Pittsburgh in a big game here. Franco dropped the ball, and Matuzak came in in the second game and played for us the rest of the year and we won the Super Bowl, and he was a fixture with us. Hendricks didn’t play right away. And you know, that’s a concern of where he is. He wants to play, and the concern is, are we rushing him? All these things have to be taken into consideration.
Q: As simple as them saying we want first, you said OK . . .
Davis: No, no, no. they wanted a first, that was OK with me, because in 2011, but they came back with another thing where I could have a choice and it was a big decision where whether to take the one or the choice. But no, that never stopped me. Sometimes you’ve got to overpay to get what you want. But I didn’t overpay. I don’t think that’s overpaying at all. Sometimes you have to, you don’t always win the battle, the idea is to get the player.
Q: You won’t pick in 2011, but would you like to see a rookie salary cap?
Davis: Don’t say we won’t pick in 2011. You’re wrong, you’re wrong, didn’t the 49ers take the first with Staley and the next year didn’t they do it again this year? So don’t make statements . . .
Q: I miss-spoke . . . would you like to see a rookie salary cap in place?
Davis: A rookie salary cap in place, no I’d like to see a whole agreement in place encompassing, I don’t know about a rookie salary cap but certainly the numbers coming down.
Q: No-cap year the cap’s not coming back, that’s what the players say. Your opinion, can you get a cap back?
Davis: We can do anything. I’m not of a mind that we can’t do anything other than it seems we can’t cure certain diseases. I wish we had a way to do that than I think we could cure everything.
Q: Norv Turner talked of using Sapp like Seymour, even then he was talked of as being a unique player . . .
Davis: Yeah, but he was wrong. He didn’t.
Q: But even then invoking he was invoking Seymour’s name even though he’d only been in the league a few years . . .
Davis: I’ve always had my eye on Seymour because it’s tough to play the right end in a three-man line. We’ve had one great player do that _ Lyle Alzado. He’s someone that we’ve been watching for years and I never thought we’d get a shot at him.
Q: Was it a surprise to you when Belichick said, What do you think about Seymour?
Davis: It kind of was.
Q: Made deals with Belichick, usually conversation he and Bill . . .
Davis: It’s usually a conversation with me on any trade.
Q: But it was always Bill on the other line?
Davis: Oh, yeah, yeah. We’ve talked. We almost hired him here when we hired Gruden. Amy picked him and I picked Gruden. We had three guys in. Belichick, Gruden and I’m trying to think who the third one was . . . Amy wanted Belichick.
Q: I think it was Art . . .
Davis: Might have been Art, yes.
Q: How long talks about this?
Davis: With Bill and I, it was long, it was over four or five days, but it wasn’t so much the choices it was the extenuating conditions, about reporting and passing the physical and all of that stuff.
Q: Disappointed things did not work with Jeff Garcia?
Davis: I wouldn’t get into that, because the coaches wanted to sign him originally. That’s between the coaches and Jeff. I’m just shook over Schilens, that bothered me, because he’s a great player and he meant a lot to JaMarcus.
Q: Seem to you JaMarcus seemed to get better in the passing game?
Davis: I hope so, but I don’t look at it that way, I really don’t. Which is good. Everyone’s culture is different. You were brought up to look at every practice, how many he completes, how many he drops. It’s just like with Darrius. Darrius will come around, he’ll be great. What’s-his-name was called, “oops,’’ I told you this _ Jerry Rice with the 49ers. Couldn’t catch the ball. Terrell Owens. Couldn’t catch the ball. Fred Biletnikoff, I was going to trade him, then at the last minute I kept him because he couldn’t catch the ball. Somehow or other they came around and Darrius will come around, I hope. But JaMarcus missed Schilens for awhile because every time he would be in trouble, if you noticed, you knew where that ball was going, and the other guy would catch it.
Q: Have you seen him grow as a quarterback?
Davis: I don’t get involved, I don’t know if you notice, but I don’t go to their meetings . . .
Q: But as a football guy who has watched him . . .
Davis: yes, he’s quicker, he’s more aware, but you’ve got to do it. You’ve got to win. And all this other stuff is, you’ve got to win. I was going to kid around with Richard, we’re going back East, you can always count on the league shipping us back East. So we’ll be going back East to a lot of games to see the family. That’s one thing you can count on in our league. Who we got back East?
Q: Pittsburgh, Cleveland . . .
Davis: the New York Giants, there might be someone else. Dallas we’ve got to go Thanksgiving Day. He can bring his family in for Thanksgiving day. Christ, they got us all the time going back East to Dallas.
Q: Like playing the Monday night opener?
Davis: No. I don’t. But Amy thinks its great and that’s why it’s done.
Q: Why don’t you like it?
Davis: Because I don’t like disrupting the schedule and having to go to Kansas City in four days.
Q: Expect anything to come of the assault investigation involving your coaches in Napa?
Davis: I don’t get involved in those things. I don’t know much about it. I don’t expect anything to happen. I hope nothing happens, let’s put it that way. That’s what we don’t need right now.
Q: Watch Tennessee game today?
Davis: I watched a little of it, yes.
Q: Happy with the result?
Davis: I didn’t care one way or the other. I know Neuheisel. I know the other fella who coaching the other team. I did see the similairites, though, when you get near the goal line.