Raiders Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Oakland Raiders

March 11, 2008
What's in a number?

BERKELEY --- DL Howie Long, Raider Hall of Famer, wore No. 75.

So did little-used rookie OT Mario Henderson last season.

Jim Plunkett won two Super Bowls wearing No. 16. Andrew Walter sat on the bench in that number.

Art Shell carved out a Hall of Fame career as a left tackle. As recently as last training camp, Chad Slaughter had a career as a backup tackle in the same number.

Point is the Raiders don’t retire numbers (except for Jim Otto because “00” can’t be worn in the NFL anymore). Then again that’s more like the league retiring Otto’s number.

Just in case you didn’t know, there’s a little story brewing among Niner fans about whether Isaac Bruce, who has worn 80 for more than a decade with St. Louis and Los Angeles Rams, should wear that number with the 49ers.

Of course, that’s the number worn by Jerry Rice.

Rice received permission to wear his number after he was traded to Seattle from Seahawk great Steve Largent.

“I haven’t had that conversation with Isaac Bruce right now,” Rice said at Cal’s Pro Day where he was checking out DeSean Jackson. “I don’t how the fans are going to react to it. But to be honest with you, the thing is when (Largent) told me that it was like ‘Wow.’ And I know what he meant to Seattle, he meant the world to Seattle. For him to do that and I just feel that it’s only the right thing to do for me. But I don’t know how the fans are going to react. I don’t know what the 49ers are going to do.”

Then again, if the 49ers had retired Rice’s number by now, this wouldn’t be an issue. Rice said eh didn’t know why his number hadn’t been retired and that he’d just talked to Eddie DeBartolo about that and if the Niners would just “do what they’re supposed to do” by Rice, this wouldn’t be an issue.

But how sacred is a number? Backup tight end Tony Stewart wore Tim Brown’ old number last season and no one seemed to care.

Then again, this is something if teams did like the Raiders, it wouldn’t be a problem. Then again, there are some numbers that should never be worn again without question.

I always assumed Rice’s was one of them.

*Raiders receivers coach James Lofton and offensive quality control coach Sanjay Lal were at Memorial Stadium along with Raiders scout Jon Kingdon.

It’s no secret the Raiders need to upgrade at receiver and Cal has three pro prospects.

Barring a trade down in the first round or a trade for an additional first-round pick, Jackson isn’t likely to be a Raider.

But Lavelle Hawkins and Robert Jordan are intriguing prospects.

Hawkins played for Raider coaches at the Senior Bowl and was impressive. He’d be a solid pick with the Raiders’ second-round pick.

Jordan is JaMarcus Russell’s cousin and wouldn’t be a bad pickup, either.

*Lofton threw passes to the receivers. He throws a tight spiral with some zip.

“I see you James airing that thing out,” yelled Chiefs coach Herm Edwards at Lofton.

If the Raiders don’t sign another backup like Quinn Gray, just suit up Lofton as the third QB.

*For those of you that caught me on ESPN2’s “First Take” this morning, you might have been surprised I went with Ohio State DE Vernon Gholston as the Raiders’ choice in the mock draft.

Here’s my thinking:

With Tommy Kelly going over to DT full time, the need there isn’t as pressing. My reasoning behind Glenn Dorsey or Sedrick Ellis as the Raiders’ choice previously was thinking Kelly would be a DE.

I still believe the Raiders don’t need another running back.

Also, the loss of Chris Clemons shouldn’t be overlooked. The Raiders have looked for an end opposite Derrick Burgess to pass rush effectively and Clemons was that guy last season. With him gone, the Raiders are especially thin at DE.

A defensive line of Burgess and Gholston with Kelly and Jay Richardson on the inside on passing downs is intriguing.

Also Gholston is a beast with great athletic ability and upside. If Jake Long is gone, I think Gholston is the guy.

--Jason Jones

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About Raiders Blog and Q&A

Matt Kawahara was born in Sacramento and attended McClatchy High School and UC Berkeley, where he wrote for the independent student paper The Daily Californian. He graduated from Cal in 2010 and started at The Sacramento Bee as a summer intern. He joined The Bee's sports staff in fall 2011.

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