Raiders News: Birmingham Officials Were Unaware of Proposal to Host OAK Games

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistFebruary 13, 2019

Oakland Raiders linebacker Xavier Woodson-Luster (56) touches the team logo as players run onto the field before an NFL preseason football game against the Seattle Seahawks in Oakland, Calif., Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

The mayor of Birmingham, Alabama, said Tuesday that he was unaware of a proposal to have the Oakland Raiders play their home games in Birmingham during the 2019 NFL season.

According to AL.com's Howard Koplowitz, Mayor Randall Woodfin told City Council President Valerie Abbott that he had no knowledge of Councilor William Parker's reported proposal: "I'm unable to communicate anything to you about a proposal, so I couldn't articulate it to you. There has been nobody on our team that has talked to the Raiders organization, so there's nothing I can tell you because I don't know."

On Tuesday, the Arizona Daily Star reported Birmingham and Tucson, Arizona, officials developed a plan that would see the Raiders play half their home games in Birmingham and half in Tucson.

In the report, it was noted that Parker and Tucson attorney Ali Farhang were "optimistic" that the plan would allow for serious talks with Raiders owner Mark Davis.

As part of the reported plan, half of the Raiders' home games would be played at Legion Field in Birmingham, which is where the UAB Blazers and the AAF's Birmingham Iron play. The other four games would be played at Tucson's Arizona Stadium—the home of the Arizona Wildcats.

The Raiders' lease at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum expires Wednesday, so the organization is searching for a home in 2019 before moving to Las Vegas on a full-time basis in 2020.

ABC7 reported Friday that the Raiders and Coliseum officials began negotiating to extend the lease for one more year.

It was previously reported that the Raiders were negotiating to play at Oracle Park in San Francisco, but Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area noted in early February that the San Francisco 49ers would not waive their territorial rights to play in San Francisco. Instead, the Niners were reportedly open to sharing Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California, with the Raiders in 2019.

The Raiders are coming off a 4-12 season that saw them trade away superstar pass-rusher Khalil Mack and wide receiver Amari Cooper under new head coach Jon Gruden.

Oakland is clearly in the midst of a rebuild, but with three picks in the first round of the 2019 draft, the pieces may be in place for the Raiders to start turning things around by the time they make the move to Las Vegas.

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