Been noticing some wild talk lately about trading Shane Lechler, and I just wanted to roll my eyes, spit on the ground, and deride these people as nothing but packs of crazy fools (metaphorically-speaking, of course ... the Wife hates it when I do that in the house).
From where I sit, as long as they continue to play at a level that's appropriate for an NFL player, I want Shane and Seabass here in Oakland.
You see ... I think Free Agency has really taken a lot away from the game of Football, and I miss the days where dudes would play out their entire careers with one team. The whole concept of 'the home team' has really been lost nowadays ... teams are just collections of guys from all over the country, nothing but a bunch of 'hired guns' ... I never feel like such and such a player really IS a RAIDER. They're all just guys that just happen to play for us this season, who knows where they'll be next season or the one after that.
I miss the old days when we had guys that were RAIDERS, through and through. Guys like Otto, Shell, Upshaw, Dalby, Freddie B and Cliff Branch, Villapiano, Atkinson, Willie Brown, Tatum, Ray Guy ... we may not have drafted them but once they came, they became Raiders, guys you KNEW wanted to be here, playing for the Silver and Black. Al was loyal to them, they were loyal to Al and The Nation. They became the faces of the Franchise.
Nowadays as evidenced by the SoB's thread about the subject, we struggle to find guys that we can point to and say, unequivocally "Yeah that dude is a RAIDER, baby, through and through!". Almost no matter who you look at, they always seem like one fat contract offer away from bolting to some other team.
It used to be every season you started with almost all the same dudes, save for the guys that retired are gone, and then you have your rookies fresh in from the draft, but aside from that, the guys who played the last game of the previous season are back in training camp the next, and there wasn't all that much 'trading' go on back in the day. Getting guys from another team was a fairly 'big deal' and didn't happen all that much. It was NOTHING like what it is today.
Nowadays you go from one season to the next and it feels like 1/3 of the team is a bunch of strangers. Although I 'get' how it's good for the league, and of course player's wallets, for me as a fan, it's definitely taken something away from the game. I feel like as soon as I get attached to any particular player and start thinking "Now THIS, is a friggin RAIDER, guys!!!" the next thing I know, they're lured away by some other team (most recently this happened with Nnamdi) ... so I generally just don't do it anymore.
But I "miss" being able to to that, and the way it is now is really not nearly as cool as the way things used to be in the NFL if you ask me. I liked feeling like "these guys ... they're OUR GUYS, they're RAIDERS, bitches!"
We have an opportunity here to do things the old-school way with Shane and Seabass, and I hope we take it. I want them both to retire as Raiders, and both go to the Hall of Fame. Seabass just needs to nail himself a 64 yarder, I think he may be 'in' if he does that. God knows what a Punter has to actually do to get in, but whatever it is, Shane either has done it, or he can do it.