In a piece I wrote last week, I chronicled the football path that new Raider Dave Tollefson has taken and how it has led him back home. He grew up in Walnut Creek California, just minutes from Oakland, as attending nearby Ygnacio Valley High School in Concord and Los Medanos College in nearby Pittsburg.
Out of high school he would also accept a scholarship to play for Fresno State. It was clear, if were up to him, he would stay as close to home as he could. But as it goes in professional sports, that was not going to be possible. So when given the chance to return home, he took it.
"Obviously, I'm from here." Said Tollefson. "I grew up a Raiders fan. My mom is a Raiders fan. Obviously she is fan of her son but if you ask her who her favorite team is, she could tell you the Raiders. So there's something special about playing for the team you grew up watching and where you grew up."
He was drafted by the Green Bay Packers and he met Reggie McKenzie from his short time with the team. That relationship played a hand in his decision to join the Raiders.
"Obviously I had that relationship with Reggie McKenzie, being drafted by Green Bay. So there was a level of comfort coming here known this organization was headed in the right direction with the guys they brought in to run it."
The Raiders signed him off the Packers' practice squad and he had a chance to make a few relationships during his time with the team that endure to this day.
"It was great to see the equipment guys. When you're a practice squad guy, you tend to get close to guys like that. Some of the front office guys I remember but, you know, when I left here it was kinda like a secret mission. I left in the middle of the night and it was such a quick stop here.
"There's a debt here I never really got to repay after leaving so... kinda funny how life works, you get an opportunity to come back to someplace like this and kinda really show them that you appreciate the opportunity that they gave you."
Tollefson summed up his excitement of returning by the way he ended the call. We welcomed him home to which he responded: "Hey, go Ygnacio Valley Warriors."