Raiders Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Oakland Raiders

November 10, 2008
The Raider sickness

OAKLAND - A former Raider once told me being an Oakland Raider is a disease that can only be cured by finding a new team.

It's a harsh analogy, but doesn't appear too far from the truth.

Take Raider receiver and return specialist Johnnie Lee Higgins.

He's one of the funniest guys around. You wouldn't believe Higgins would suffer from a lack of confidence.

But after he fumbled the opening kickoff and looking lost on punt returns, interim head coach Tom Cable said Higgins is simply just a Raider.

"Johnnie's a product of this football team," Cable said. "Just finding enough belief and faith in ourselves that we can break through and make a play."

The Raiders "disease" has afflicted many.

Being associated with the Raiders often means being labeled a bad player just because you're a Raider.

But circumstances surrounding the Raiders such as constant coaching change only worsen the disease.

And until there's a coach that can step in and change the culture of the Raiders, the only way to fix this problem is to leave.

Here a few players who were "cured" upon leaving the Raiders:

*WR Randy Moss (2005-06)
Does this really need any explanation?

*OT Langston Walker (2002-06)
Unfairly maligned as a Raider, he left as a free agent for Buffalo and has been a solid player.

*RB Dominic Rhodes (2007)
Wasn't good enough to play for the Raiders most of last season. He's back in Indianapolis and scored the winning touchdown for the Colts on Sunday.

*CB Charles Woodson (1998-05)
Was oft-injured by the end of his Raider tenure. Left Oakland for Green Bay and is playing like the All Pro he was at the start of his Raider career.

*DE Tyler Brayton (2003-07)
Played three positions for the Raiders (DE, LB, DT) and finished his Raider career as a backup. He's starting for 7-2 Carolina.

--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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