Not a lot of Raiders news here today, because, truth be told, I had a 49ers shift and figured it would be no problem doing both.
I passed along Steve Corkran’s information regarding injured players and the like, and finished off my usual Thursday-Friday stuff (NFL rankings and NFL column for Sunday papers).
Thought I’d have time to come up with some more Raiders stuff later, but instead got hung up on a bit of drama which was old hat to me but had jaws dropping in Santa Clara.
Strong safety Michael Lewis didn’t show up for practice. His agent, Rodney Williams, told Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area that Lewis wanted his release. (Williams didn’t respond to my e-mails or phone calls _ damn it , Maiocco).
The first time I attended a Raiders practice after they’d re-established themselves as the Oakland Raiders, Mike White stepped to the microphone in El Segundo and announced Patrick Bates had left the team. Bates was a former first-round draft pick, the next Jack Tatum, a young talent approaching his prime. Lewis is 30 and prone to concussions.
The 49ers were already reeling, having seen Kentwan Balmer, a first-round draft pick in 2008, leave camp until he was dealt to Seattle for a sixth-round draft pick, and Glen Coffee, a third-round pick out of Alabama in 2009, decide he didn’t want to play football. Balmer may have been cut anyway. Coffee averaged under three yards a carry as a rookie and there was little or no evidence he was going to ever compete with Frank Gore for playing time.
Yes, they left after training camp began, but compared to Steve Wisniewski retiring with a couple of years still in the tank and running back Napoleon Kaufman deciding to join the ministry while still an explosive runner, this was small potatoes.
It’s true Jimmy Raye got fired this week (anyone remember he was Norv Turner’s offensive coordinator in Oakland?), but near as I can tell, no one claimed his head hit a desk or that a local district attorney was considering filing charges. Singletary’s domestic life has gone unchallenged.
At no time has the 49ers coach waged an insurgency directed at ownership or been destroyed by overhead projector.
To the Raiders credit, they’ve minimized distractions since Al Davis decided to keep Tom Cable aboard, and only time will tell if the relative serenity will pay off in the won-loss column.
So the 49ers have surpassed the Raiders for the moment in terms of dysfunction, and there is mounting evidence Singletary is more nut job than charismatic genius.
But if they truly want to be a longterm player in terms of dysfunction, Jed York is going to have to be truly bold. Michael Crabtree’s disinterest isn’t nearly enough.
Whether it’s at this year’s trade deadline or in the offseason, Randy Moss and DeAngelo Hall could be up for grabs.
And that’s only a start.