By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Wednesday, December 30th, 2009 at 1:23 pm in Oakland Raiders.
There has been some sentiment in the Raiders locker room for knocking the Ravens from a postseason berth, much as they did to the Bucs to close out 2008.
“It don’t motivate me to be no spoiler. I have to be honest with you,” Ellis said. “I want to be the one that’s going there and somebody’s trying to spoil my stuff.
“But I’ve got other reasons that still allow me to play hard, and so should other guys. But being a spoiler, that may do it for some people, but to win the game, that’s what we want to do. Last week we didn’t have a chance to spoil anything for Cleveland but you still want to win that football game.”
Lechler, Asomugha react to Pro Bowl
A year ago, with the announcement earlier in the day, the Raiders held a Tuesday press conference with punter Shane Lechler and cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha to address their selection to the Pro Bowl.
This time around, they let the news marinate for a day, with Lechler and Nnamdi back in the press room.
“Who’s getting the franchise tag?” cracked Asosomugha as the press conference ended.
The comment was in reference to last year, when speculation was that either Asomugha or Lechler would be designated the franchise player by the Raiders. I asked them at the podium which one would get the tag and they somewhat nervously looked at each other and didn’t answer.
As it turned out, Al Davis got them both signed, with Asomugha getting $45.3 million over three years ($28.5 million guaranteed) and Lechler $16 million over four ($9 million guaranteed), the most money ever paid to players at their respective positions.
And while it was a boatload of money, there’s something to be said for writing checks to known commodities rather than sinking it into trade acquisition DeAngelo Hall or unrestricted free agents such as Gibril Wilson and Javon Walker.
Lechler was voted in for the fifth time, but wasn’t taking his selection for granted despite a 51.1 yard gross average and 44.0 net which is the best of all time.
“Anytime you get voted in by your peers and players around the league, and fans, it’s always a great honor,” Lechler said. We’re going to a new site this year in Miami, so we get to see what that’s all about. I was looking forward to it and I was hoping my name would be called, but didn’t know for sure. You never know.”
Asomugha, with just one interception and four passes defensed, also wasn’t sure what to think.
“I wasn’t worried about it but I was like, `Let me wait before I make my plans,’ ” Asomugha said.
Neither player is sure what to make of the new site and date, with the game being played the week before the Super Bowl. With Indianapolis tight end Dallas Clark and San Diego’s Antonio Gates each having a chance to make the Super Bowl, Lechler hopes a spot will open up for Zach Miller, an alternate along with Richard Seymour.
In any event, it’s more about being there than playing in the game.
“The game is just fun. No one takes it seriously. We go out at practice and guys are jiving around. It’s really the experience more so than it is the game,” Asomugha said. “It’s kind of like when you go fishing. It’s more so just the conversations and that experience than how many fish you catch.”