Three years ago, the Raiders fired Tom Cable as head coach and promoted Hue Jackson to the head job. At that time, Shane Lechler was vocal in his displeasure with the move. He said he was not alone in his displeasure and noted other Raiders such and Michael Bush and Zach Miller as those who were unhappy as well.
Shortly after that move was made Zach Miller left to join Cable in Seattle as did offensive lineman, Robert Gallery. Michael Bush then left as a free agent the following season. Now, it was Lechler's turn to head out of town and he did the same. But, while Lechler was making his displeasure with the Raiders known then, he had actually been wanting to leave long before that.
In the video above, Lechler says that he had been following the Texans since they came into existence. That year was 2002 - just two years after he was drafted by the Raiders. But the Raiders were winning at that time so it was a decent place to be. Now they aren't and Oakland is not home.
Lechler is from Texas. Sealy Texas to be exact, just 50 miles West of Houston. He attended Texas A&M which is 72 miles from his hometown and 95 miles from Houston. That's home. That's where his favorite team is and that's where he wanted to be.
Also in the video, Lechler admits that he was ready to bolt for the Texans four years ago but Al Davis offered him a sum of money he couldn't refuse to stay with the Raiders.
"[Joining the Texans] is something I've been looking forward to for a while," said Lechler. "I thought it was going to happen four years ago but, you know, Mr Davis offered something that I was not going to turn down and now that that's out of the way... that's all in the past now. I knew when I hit free agency this year, I knew there was one place that I had in target in mind and that was [Houston]."
This is probably a bit of a shocking revelation to Raiders fans. Having a player admit he was a fan of another team with eyes on leaving while wearing Silver & Black will rub many the wrong way.
Lechler's admission goes against one of the key components Reggie McKenzie and Dennis Allen want in their players - to want to be part of this Raiders team. That could be the reason they made no attempts to re-sign Lechler. They knew he had his heart set on returning to Houston to play out his career. He didn't want to be a Raider, and therefore they weren't going to attempt to keep him.
Lechler believes he has the best of all worlds in Houston. He gets to go home and play for a real Super Bowl contender. The Texans were in the playoffs last year and made it to the Division round before losing to the Patriots. They recently reeled in Ed Reed from the Ravens in an attempt to win now. Now they have the best punter in the league. And unlike Oakland, at least they know he wants to be there.