ALAMEDA — Sitting on the bench directly in front of Derek Carr’s locker at the Oakland Raiders’ headquarters was a copy of Tom Brady’s “The TB 12 Method,” a picture of the smiling New England Patriots quarterback emblazoned across the cover.
A day after owner Mark Davis fired Jack Del Rio sometime between the final whistle of the team’s embarrassing 30-10 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers and when the former head coach announced his dismissal at his own news conference, the latest addition to Carr’s offseason reading list — Brady’s how-to guide to becoming a four-time Super Bowl champ — was as close as it got to a sighting of the face of the suddenly turbulent franchise.
Carr was nowhere to be found while reporters were allowed into the locker room. Nor was Khalil Mack, the defensive general.
With the Jon Gruden reunion rumors hanging in the air, Davis and reticent general manager Reggie McKenzie also remained silent.
“I don’t think there’s going to be anyone in there,” a public relations staffer warned, as the media contingent — seven camera crews strong — headed into the locker room.
Slowly, the Raiders trickled in. Some talked. Others politely declined.
Amid the vacuum, NaVorro Bowman was the highest-profile player to speak.
As recently as Friday, Bowman discussed his excitement about playing another season under Del Rio and having a full training camp for John Pagano, the assistant head coach of defense, to install his system. Now, Bowman’s future is far less certain.
“Just wait and see where everything falls,” Bowman explained. “But I enjoyed my time here.”
The crowd of cameras and reporters surrounding him, Bowman also indulged the topic of the day.
“It’s exciting,” Bowman said of the possibility of Gruden joining the Raiders. “You know what he’s done in the past. You know that he understands the game … He’s a guy that’s a well-known critic in this game and a coach as well. So, I look forward to seeing what happens.”
Jon Condo, who’s been the Raiders long snapper since 2007, also addressed the coaching situation and whether he was caught off guard by the firing of Del Rio.
“It was more surprising seeing the reports the day before the game,” Condo said.
The veteran clarified that the Gruden noise hadn’t distracted the Raiders — even if the results on the field suggested otherwise.
For Condo, the turnover is nothing news. His next coach, Gruden or otherwise, will be his seventh as a Raider.
“I guess I’ll believe it when I see it,” Condo said when asked if he believes Gruden will finally leave the booth.
“Just from all the reports in previous years and stuff like that. He may do it. He may not. It looks like he is, but I don’t know. It will be interesting to see him back on the sideline.”