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In fact, he expects fans to unite, rather than fight with each other.
“We’re not going to split up like you’ve seen other cities do,” Carr said Monday, and immediately images of Cleveland and Houston in the mid-1990s, when the Browns and Oilers departed for Baltimore and Tennessee, respectively, come to mind.
“We’re not going to do things like that. For the ones that do, I don’t really believe that they’re true Raider fans. I feel their hurt. I’m with you. I hurt, too. But at the same time, we’re all in this together and we’re just going to do it together.”
The Raiders won the right to relocate to Southern Nevada on March 27 by a 31-1 vote.
Raiders owner Mark Davis does not plan on moving to Las Vegas until a $1.9 billion, 65,000-seat domed stadium with natural grass opens in 2020. The Raiders will play in Oakland this coming season and have a lease option for 2018 at the Oakland Coliseum but thus far have no concrete plan for the 2019 season.
“I feel their hurt. I’m with you. I hurt, too,” Derek Carr said of the Raiders move away from Oakland. “But at the same time, we’re all in this together and we’re just going to do it together.” Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
And while the future may be a bit muddy, Raiders players insisted on the first day of the team’s offseason workout program it will not detract from their on-field goals.
“We’re just trying to focus on right now,” said Pro Bowl center Rodney Hudson. “Like you said, we’ll be playing in Oakland this year. We’re just trying to focus on what we can do every day to get better and worry about the rest whenever that time comes.”
Defensive player of the year Khalil Mack said it “feels weird now” knowing a move is coming.
“But I feel once we get in that stadium and get around the fans and them knowing that the players don’t have control over those things, it comes down to us coming to work and doing our job and doing whatever it takes to win,” he said.
“That’s the easy part. It’s just outside noise. That’s the stuff you deal with throughout the year, all year. You deal with different teams, different players saying different things about your team. It’s ultimate focus for us to lock in on what we have to do right now. It’s just day by day, going to work with each other and doing what it takes to win ball games. That’s our only focus.”
Even with the regular season still four-plus months away, and a potential awkward vibe in the Coliseum. Still, Carr does not anticipate the Black Hole having a different feel.
“Out of like 1,000 people, you’re going to get one or two that have something to say and that’s with everything,” he said.
“Hopefully y’all don’t focus on that kind of stuff because there’s the 99 percent that are loyal, faithful fans that are going to ride with us wherever we’re at.”
Carr said neither his teammates nor his coaches would be affected by the lame duck status. Even if, he acknowledges, Oakland fans are still hurting.
After all, the Raiders are coming off a 12-4 season, their first playoff appearance since 2002 and are a team on the rise … just as they are set to depart.
“The people that it affects the most are our fans here that we have,” Carr said. “I think that that’s the hardest part. But at the same time, we still have some good years ahead of us here. I think that our fans are really excited about that. I think that they realize that, that we still have some times that we can really enjoy here. I think that is the main focus right now.
“We have to do those things to make sure we continue to have success. I think our fans will realize as the season gets closer that we’re here and focused on the now.”
And for those Las Vegas fans awaiting the Raiders’ arrival?
“Yeah, they should be really excited,” Carr said. “We have a good football team that works really hard, of great character. When we go there, it’s not so much us incorporating