NAPA — Las Vegas may be on the minds of Mark Davis and other Raiders executives.
But as the team embarks on the start of training camp, the players continue to tune out most of the relocation talk.
They hear some of it, of course.
“I hear as much as y’all do like on ESPN and stuff,” quarterback Derek Carr said.
But there’s a concerted effort to make sure it’s not a distraction.
“Me and Derek talk about it all the time,” pass rusher Khalil Mack said, “about not focusing on those types of things, keeping the guys together and focusing on winning right now. No matter where we go, where we are, keeping the guys focused on winning and going out and working hard and everything is going to work out as it may.
“But, as of now, we’re in beautiful Napa, chilling, working hard and trying to get ready for this great season that we’re about to try to approach.”
The team of course faced similar questions last year as a potential relocation to Los Angeles lingered in the background. It wasn’t until after the season, and the Rams had earned the right to relocate to L.A., that the Raiders signed a one-year agreement to play the 2016 season in Oakland.
The deal also includes one-year options for 2017 and 2018, but the future is murky as Davis explores a potential stadium deal in Las Vegas. Talks are deep enough in Sin City that there was a reporter from a Las Vegas newspaper there on Day 1 of training camp Friday to gather the thoughts from the two faces of the Raiders franchise.
Carr said it’s easier now that camp has started to tune out those talks.
“Once football starts, it becomes really easy not to listen to it,” Carr said, “because we’re getting coached up. You have to perform to keep your job and to excel at your job.
“But during the offseason you hear those things, you wonder, ‘Oh, is it going to happen? Is it not? Oh well.’ We know we love Oakland. We love the city. We love our fans. If we were to go somewhere else, that’s Mr. Davis’ plan. We’re going to love them, too. It’s all up to him. To us, we’re going to play ball and we’re going to play for the Raider Nation and that’s what I know.”