The media were not permitted access to the Raiders first mini camp last week. First-year coach Dennis Allen declined to divulge the size of the turnout, other than to say he was “pleased.”
A scan of numerous pictures on the Raiders website revealed the following 50 players in attendance for some or all of the three-day affair in Alameda:
DeMarcus Van Dyke
As you can see, that’s quite a turnout for a “voluntary” mini camp. Notable exceptions include defensive tackle Tommy Kelly, strong safety Tyvon Branch and fullback Marcel Reece. None of the three players showed up in any of the pictures scanned.
Reece’s absence isn’t a surprise, given he hasn’t signed the one-year tender as a restricted free agent. Same goes for Branch, the recipient of the franchise tag, which he has not signed. Not sure if Kelly was there, and he just didn’t make it into any of the pictures.
The big surprise was the presence of defensive lineman Desmond Bryant. He, too, has yet to sign his one-year tender. However, he signed a waiver and opted to participate.
That’s the kind of dedication Allen no doubt is looking for.
“I thought we had a great turnout. We had two weeks of an offseason conditioning program and today was the first day of the voluntary minicamp,” Allen said in a conference call last Tuesday. “Overall I’ve been very pleased with the turnout. Guys are working very hard to try to get better.”