SCHAUMBURG, Ill. — Mark Davis arrived in suburban Chicago to give a relocation pitch to his NFL peers on Tuesday, and the Raiders owner left with what sounded like a farewell speech for the fans.
Either that or an invitation to come on down and join the Raiders in Southern California again.
Davis told the San Francisco Examiner that he has heard nothing from Oakland officials about a stadium plan that could keep the Raiders there, and with less than six months to convince the league of the city’s legitimacy as an NFL venue, he and a league official strongly hinted that Oakland had little chance to save its football team.
“We need help, and [local government officials] don’t want to give us any,” Davis told the Examiner. “I haven’t heard anything from them. Nothing. Zero. I don’t know why. Ask them. They’re the ones who can answer that. Hey, I don’t know what they think. I really don’t know.
“All I can answer is that we want to stay there. We’ve got 500 million dollars to invest in [the area] and be there 30, 40 years — the rest of my life, the Oakland Raiders. I’ve said that consistently and I haven’t changed.”
Davis called the lack of movement “disappointing” and said he felt for the die-hard fans as much as anyone.
“Raiders fans are the best,” Davis said. “There’s no question about it. Is that the toughest part about all this? Yeah. Yeah.
“But we have Raiders Nation, and a lot of those fans said they’ll be happy to drive to L.A. if we go there. They understand we’re not trying to run out of there.”
The Raiders and San Diego Chargers have expressed strong interest in relocating to Carson, where they could share a new $1.7 billion stadium that has yet to be built. The St. Louis Rams have considered a move to nearby Inglewood.
Davis and Chargers owner Dean Spanos made brief remarks during the 30-minute presentation.
Asked whether Davis had any reservations about the Carson plan, he replied, “Skepticism? No, none whatsoever. It was phenomenal. Yeah, it was everything I hoped for, sure. I wish I could say more.”
The application deadline is expected as early as December, which puts Oakland under the gun to submit a plan that convinces league officials and team owners to move ahead.
Asked whether it was too late for Oakland to get in the game, league executive vice president Eric Grubman told the Examiner, “I would leave that to Oakland. What I said remains — [the plan] has to be actionable, real and the league has to like it.”
At his request, Grubman met with local city and county representatives recently, but he wasn’t encouraged by the results.
“What I would say is, we had a fair and open discussion but it was no specific around a proposal,” Grubman said. “I was disappointed not for the league. I was disappointed for the fans, because there’s no proposal on the table that can give us something to go to work on. That’s what we like — we like working on things that can happen, not waiting for something.”
The exodus of the Raiders would leave the NFL with no team at the core of the country’s fifth-largest TV market. Grubman said that, if one or more teams were to move, a jilted city could be considered for an expansion franchise at a later date.
“I thought everything was good,” 49ers CEO Jed York said. “There has been a lot of progress. It’s good that we have options in L.A., and it’s good that we have options outside of L.A. in some of the home markets.”
Asked what two teams in Carson could offer the league, York said, “We haven’t made a decision on that. We have two potentially viable options. We’ll see where it takes us.”
Carson project director Carmen Policy also made a presentation to the team owners, commissioner Roger Goodell and league senior staff. According to the former 49ers president, three questions were asked of him, but he would not elaborate.
Policy stressed that the Carson project would not only bring professional football back to the Los Angeles market after a 21-year hiatus, but it also would solve stadium issues in three cities — Oakland, San Diego and St. Louis.
“It works for California, and it certainly works for the L.A. market,” Policy said. “And now it works for the two teams [Oakland and San Diego] that are playing in the most dilapidated, terrible stadiums in the league.”
“It cures the California dilemma. You’re not only curing the California dilemma, you’re curing it with California teams. These teams have been born and bred in California. They never left California.”
Rams owner Stan Kroenke has announced plans for a stadium and entertainment center in Inglewood, which is 14 miles from Carson. But St. Louis has plans for a riverfront facility not far from the Edward Jones Dome, where the Rams have played home games for the last 10 seasons.
While Kroenke has kept his distance from the St. Louis project, it’s unlikely that he would receive the necessary support to move from other team owners if it meets league requirements. One day earlier, Policy said he was encouraged by its scope and progress.
Meanwhile, the Chargers are most eager to move to another market. They have repeatedly thrown cold water on any San Diego stadium project, which they did again on Monday, when city and county officials announced an updated proposal for a new $1.1 billion facility. In order for a public vote to be taken in January, the plan must be in place no later than Sept. 11, although the date could be pushed back two weeks if necessary.
The Chargers, Rams and Raiders shared Southern California for 13 seasons. After the 1994 campaign, the Raiders returned to Oakland and the Rams moved from Anaheim to St. Louis. The Chargers made their AFL debut in Los Angeles in 1960 before they transferred to San Diego one year later.Carmen PolicyDean SpanosMark DavisNFLOakland RaidersRoger GoodellSan Diego ChargersSt. Louis Rams