Oakland Raiders season ticket holders may have been taken aback when they received their ticket packages for the 2008 campaign. There was a small, two-word change ... in big, bold lettering.
The new slogan in Oakland is now "I will," according to the promotional material included with the package. A short year ago, "I'm in" was the motto for the struggling organization. After another season far below the .500 mark, however, it seems the Raiders have given up on "I'm in."
The change in catchphrases coincides very nicely with two speculative reports that were released over the weekend.
The first came from ESPN writer Michael Smith, who said on SportsCenter that Oakland and the Washington Redskins are the top two interested parties in acquiring Atlanta Falcons cornerback DeAngelo Hall.
The second report came from The Tennessean in a March 8 article by Jim Wyatt. Along with the Dallas Cowboys and Miami Dolphins, Wyatt states that "Detroit, Oakland, Kansas City, Houston, New Orleans and New England are among those to have expressed at least some level of interest" in suspended Titans cornerback Adam 'Pacman' Jones.
So it seems they just ran out of space to fit the real slogan: "I will ... do what I want."
Both young cornerbacks are known for being loud and controversial. They do what they want. And they certainly don't fit the "I'm in" philosophy.
Hall, 24, has had a productive four seasons in the NFL (230 tackles and 17 interceptions), but he has also established himself as a "me-first" player during that time.
The 5-foot-10 cornerback has pulled several stunts since being selected in the first round of the 2004 draft by the Falcons. In his career, Hall has:
- Shaved "I own 85" into his head after winning a bet with Bengals WR Chad Johnson.
- Been involved with a highly publicized feud with Cowboys wideout Terrell Owens, who spit in Hall's face on Dec. 18, 2006.
- Carried a poster of Michael Vick onto the field and sported an "MV7" eye shade on ''Monday Night Football'' after Vick was sentenced to 23 months in prison. (Hall was fined $10,000 by the NFL for the incident).
- Skipped out on a team-building outing to the movies planned by former head coach Jim Mora, instead opting to take off in his Lamborghini while players and coaches loaded into buses.
- Been fined for receiving three flags in one drive (for a total of 67 yards) while covering Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith.
- Reportedly told Saints head coach Sean Payton "I'll play for you for the minimum" during a home game against New Orleans last season.
Jones, on the other hand, has taken much more of an off-field approach to tainting his career. The currently suspended 24-year-old Titan was first arrested in July 2005 on charges of assault and felony vandalism after an altercation at a nightclub. Since that arrest, he has:
- Had a petition filed against him by the State of West Virginia for not regularly contacting his probation officer.
- Been arrested for disorderly conduct and public intoxication in Murfreesboro, Tenn.
- Been cited for misdemeanor assault for supposedly spitting in the face of a female Tennessee State University student.
- Gotten busted for drug possession after being pulled over for speeding in his 2004 Cadillac XLT.
- Had over $80,000 in cash seized and faced two felony charges after the infamous Minxx Gentlemen's Club & Lounge shooting.
And those are just the big ones.
Amazingly, according to Smith and Wyatt, the Raiders have shown some sort of interest in both hooligans.
With "I'm in" out the door, though, it's now "Anything goes" in Oakland.
So "I will" bet team owner Al Davis doesn't care what DeAngelo Hall or Pacman Jones have done in the past. Both are fast.
Anthony Carroll can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org