OAKLAND - I was able to catch up Raiders running back Justin Fargas last night before he was honored for the second year in a row as the winner of the team's Commitment to Excellence Award.
The winner is voted on by his teammates.
He shared the award with Nnamdi Asomugha this year. Asomugha is out of the country right now and wasn't at the dinner.
Here's a quick snippet of my chat with Fargas.
Q: Is there more significance to winning this award twice?
A: It brings more meaning to it. The first year I felt like my teammates were recognizing me for having a breakout season and for the things I did on the field. But when they voted me this year, it just made me think it's more than just a statistical award. It shows that they look to me and respect me not just as a football player but as a leader in locker room. And that gave a lot more meaning to it this year.
Q: You said last year you wanted to become more of a leader. Did that come naturally?
A: Yeah, it came naturally. I don't feel like I changed what I did. I just knew I had to take more responsibility in doing the little things. Not rah, rah speeches in front of the team, but telling the young guys aside and seeing where they're at. Talking to my quarterback and making sure he knows I have total confidence in him so he can just be himself and play, things like that. I think as a veteran on the team you have to embrace that role more.
Q: There was a lot of off-the-field news about the Raiders this time last year. But you restructured your contract to ensure you'll be back this season. Why the desire to stay in Oakland?
A: Probably the most exciting thing I can say going into this season is e have the same coach. We have direction as a team and we know where Coach (Tom) Cable is coming from, what he's trying to do with us and where we're trying to go.
Coming back with all three running backs, I'm excited. It showed last year that it takes a corps of running backs to get the job done through the season. And I don't think there's a corps that's going to be stronger than ours this year. And with Coach (Kelly) Skipper coming along to lead us I'm excited.
*The T.O. to Oakland chatter can end.
Terrell Owens has agreed to a one-year contract with the Buffalo Bills.