Raiders’ owner Al Davis might be a lot of things, but a wimp, he’s not.
Many in the sports world scrutinize Davis with a fine-tooth comb; from his draft choices, to his handling of coaches, his age and his appearance.
Regardless, Davis is a visionary on a mission to return the franchise, which he built, to the once-great franchise that bullied the football world despite his naysayers.
Davis is adamant about his expectations for the future saying, “We have the talent to get into the playoffs…” Though Davis is one of the most criticized owners in the league, he stands by his word and believes in his players—so much so that he has a history of being demanding and chastising his coaches when he feels that they misuse their authority when dealing with players.
“Yeah, I’m demanding of doing it right and being right and treating players right,” Davis stated. “I’m a great believer that you praise players. For awhile here, between Kiffin and that other fellow, they were knocking the players.”
Unlike many other NFL owners Davis has a high regard for his players, even disgruntled stars such as former Raider Randy Moss, who Davis prophesied would have made a difference for New England last weekend. “New England got a lesson the other day. If they kept (Randy Moss), they would’ve beaten the Jets.”
Many in the sports world blame Davis for drafting JaMarcus Russell, but the truth is: nearly every NFL coach, scout, and owner pegged Russell to be a star.
Instead of being disgruntled about Russell, Davis proclaimed, “We had a big investment in this guy. Basically, he’s a good person but he’s got personal problems…That was the thing with JaMarcus. It hurt us a great deal. But you have to go on. You have to overcome those things, and we almost did this year…”
Spoken like a true gentleman…
Many outside the confines of the Raider Nation criticized Davis for his handling of former head coach Jon Gruden. But when asked about regrets, Davis commented:
“Oh no…no I don’t. Not at all, because…look, Jon beat us in the goddamn Super Bowl. That’s the only thing I regret. Take a look at Jon’s performance at Tampa.” That was “Dungy’s team.”
Over the past few weeks, Davis has taken a lot of heat for the firing of Tom Cable, but Davis summed the Cable experiment up: “What Tom Cable is as a football coach is an exceptional line coach,’’ nothing more, nothing less. But it was Davis who at least gave Cable a shot, when no other NFL owner would have.
When asked about Nnamdi Asomugha, Davis stated, “that $17 million can bring you two or three players that can help you win,’’ such as a Pro Bowl-caliber left tackle, a solid corner and a solid right guard.
Like him or not, Mr. Al Davis is his own man. And his mission is still the same: “Just Win Baby!”