Jack Del Rio: Raiders' Las Vegas move won't matter to 'diehards'

By Ron Clements 28 March 2017
Jack Del Rio: Raiders' Las Vegas move won't matter to 'diehards'

Jack Del Rio doesn't think the Raiders' move from Oakland to Las Vegas will impact the fan base much. 

And he speaks from experience. 

Del Rio, who grew up in the Oakland area, was a linebacker at USC when the Raiders moved to Los Angeles in 1982. The team returned to Oakland 13 years later.

"The Raider Nation travels well," Del Rio said Tuesday during the AFC coaches breakfast at the annual NFL owners' meetings in Phoenix. "I happened to be at Southern Cal the last time they left. It was sad then for my family and friends... but I was pretty fired up when I was at Southern Cal that my team was there. So there were mixed emotions."

Del Rio, who is entering his third season as the Raiders head coach, added that the move likely won't have a big impact on the team's fan base. 

"We draw globally," Del Rio said. "I am sure there are some people who are angry, and it's understandable. But there are diehards and to them, it won't matter where we play."

League owners voted by a 31-1 margin Monday to approve the team's relocation to Vegas. The Raiders plan to play the next two seasons in Oakland before beginning play in Las Vegas for the 2019 season, though the team's new stadium isn't expected to open until 2020. 

Raiders owner Mark Davis asked fans on Monday to not take out their frustrations on the coaches or players because it was his decision. Del Rio said Tuesday Davis stated a fact when he said coaches and players had nothing to do with it.

"They don't really take the opinion of the coach into consideration when they make that type of decision," Del Rio said. "I'll focus on the decisions I do get to make.

"It's important to focus on the things we do have control over."

And that focus will be on "giving maximum effort" as the Raiders look for a second straight playoff berth after going 14 years without qualifying for the postseason. 

"We'll prepare each week. That's not going to change," Del Rio said. "That has to remain at the forefront."

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