The Oakland Raiders aren't ruling out a return to Los Angeles.
Owner Mark Davis isn't ready to abandon Oakland just yet, but he told reporters Sunday that a move isn't out of the question, as Scott Bair of CSNBayArea.com relayed from the NFL's annual meeting in Orlando, Fla.:
We’re not done in Oakland. We’re trying really hard, and we’ll see how that goes. But Los Angeles is something that I’ve definitely thought about and haven’t pursued. There are other places as well. Until we can find out if Oakland is real, then I’m still staying in Oakland. If we can get something done in Oakland, I will stay in Oakland.
As Bair noted, there hasn't been a lot to be excited about as it pertains to a new stadium in Oakland. There has been a new development toward that end, however, as the Coliseum City proposal could potentially be the answer.
“If in fact that can come to fruition, we’ll be a part of that,” Davis said, regarding the proposal. “If not, then we have to figure out what to do. What we’ve done is sign a one-year extension to our lease and we’ll play (at the Oakland Coliseum) this season. At the end of this season, we have to determine what’s going to happen.”
Raiders fans in Northern California would love to see their team stay in the Bay Area, but there's no doubt Los Angeles is an attractive destination for this franchise.
“I know that we would be well embraced down there,” Davis said, regarding a potential move south. “There’s no question about that.”
The city of Los Angeles has aggressively pushed for an NFL team to return after the Raiders left in 1995.
Tim Newcomb of SI.com recently outlined three potential sites for a new stadium: a 60-acre Inglewood, Calif., parking lot purchased by St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke, Los Angeles Stadium at Grand Crossing and Farmers Field. Newcomb adds:
As we all know by now, the nation’s second-largest market hasn’t had the NFL since 1994, when both the Rams and Raiders vacated the city. And while the NFL flirts with London, whether Wembley Stadium or even a potential new Tottenham soccer-football hybrid, L.A. lingers.
Of course, Davis' comments could be construed as a power play to leverage Oakland into making a move to keep the Raiders in town.
One thing is certain: This story isn't going away any time soon.
The current situation at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum is unacceptable, as the facility is among the worst in the league. In truth, the stadium was never designed with football in mind, and every NFL franchise desires a crown jewel to call home. The aforementioned three L.A.-based sites would at least open up the Raiders' options in seeking a desirable venue.
Los Angeles is one of the most attractive destinations for teams seeking a new home, given the city's rabid sports fans. Nobody will be surprised if the Raiders end up making a return, and many will likely wonder why the team left in the first place.
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