By Steve Corkran
Wednesday, July 24th, 2013 at 3:55 pm in Oakland Raiders.
Let the record show that kicker Eddy Carmona was the first player off the bus Wednesday afternoon when the initial wave of Raiders players descended upon Napa for training camp.
Three years ago, much was made about veteran defensive tackle Richard Seymour riding the bus with rookies, undrafted players and other hopefuls. Carmona just happened to be the first guy off the lead bus this time around.
In other words, coach Dennis Allen and general manager Reggie McKenzie don’t care much about orchestrating a scene in which a high-priced, perennial Pro Bowler such as Seymour rides into town with a slew of players that have yet to make their mark.
They’re more concerned about everyone being under contract, in camp and ready to roll when the first practice rolls around Friday.
To that end, cornerback D.J. Hayden and offensive tackle Menelik Watson aren’t anywhere to be seen here right now, and they remain unsigned.
Nothing to worry about for now, given the Raiders have a great track record of getting all their draft picks signed and in camp on time.
Second-year offensive lineman Tony Bergstrom said he and his teammates are eager to get going.
“Coach Allen and Mr. McKenzie have done a great job in this offseason,” Bergstrom said, “and we’ve done a great job in this offseason in the OTAs and minicamps. All the pieces are there now and it’s just a matter of getting them working together in the right way in this camp.”
The Raiders are done with their offseason workouts. Now it’s time for the pads to go on, the hitting to start and the evaluations to determine whether players make the 53-man roster or get sent to the unemployment line.
Veteran running back Rashad Jennings arrived in his own car, sporting a hyperbaric chamber, a smile and a fresh outlook on his NFL career.
Jennings spent his first four NFL seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars, though he missed the 2011 season with an injury. He was signed by the Raiders to compete for playing time behind lead back Darren McFadden.
“All that’s in the past,” Jennings said of his injuries, including last season. “I’ve been telling everybody, no matter what you’ve done successful in the back end of things, no matter what you’ve done great in the back end of things, camp starts here tomorrow, and I’m a Raider now and that’s what I’m focused on.”
Jennings said he welcomed the breeze and relatively calm weather in Napa, given he was accustomed to practicing in the hot, humid south the past four years.
Bergstrom said he has some advice for those about to embark upon their first NFL training camp.
“Don’t pace yourself, number one,” Bergstrom said. “That would be the No. 1 message. Coming in with confidence, don’t be worried about what’s coming up. Just take advantage of every day. It’s a process, and you have to live in the process.”
Rookie quarterback Tyler Wilson is one of those unaware of what awaits him when he takes the field Friday for his first taste of an NFL training camp.
However, he has been told that the experience is going to be more enjoyable than
“I saw coach (Al) Saunders, and he kind of talked about it,” Wilson said. ” ‘The best training camp in the league, it’s right up the road in Napa.’ So, I talked with him a little bit about how camp goes, as well as Matt (Flynn), who hasn’t been here, but he’s been in other camps, and some of those other guys. So, it’s been good. We’re all excited for it.”
– In other news, cornerback Tracy Porter Tweeted that Charles Woodson was given the No. 24 that Porter was assigned when he signed with the Raiders earlier this offseason.
Woodson signed shortly after Porter, and he made no secret that he desired No. 24 because that’s the number he wore during his first stint with the Raiders.
Even so, it didn’t sound as if Woodson was prepared to compensate Porter much, if at all, for the switch. By the sounds of Porter’s Tweets, he didn’t have much say in the matter.
“Well you Raiders fans…your guy has 24. It was TAKEN from me and given to him. #congrats…..too funny how this biz “works”
A short time later, Porter added: “Not mad at all…it’s just the principle and the way it was handled…..said my piece, now back to football.”
Woodson wasn’t available for comment. Perhaps he will weigh in on the issue as soon as Friday.