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Raiders to sign one-year lease extension, showing signs team could stay in Oakland

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Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Not long after the 2014 season ended, the news came out that no NFL team would be making the move to Los Angeles this year. On Friday Mark Davis confirmed that the Raiders are ready to sign a one-year lease extension to play in Coliseum in 2015, though it will be signed begrudgingly, there are positive signs the Raiders could ultimately remain in Oakland long term.

"I don't want to (sign a one-year extension)," said Davis. "We are trying to get something done here. So we're signing another one-year extension. Plus our fans proved to us that we should be here. We want to be here."

This is the second such extension since the original lease expired after the 2013 season. The one-year extension was supposed to be the only one. And Davis has not ruled out the possibility of yet another one-year lease extension after this season.

"You never know," Davis said. "I don't want to. I want to get something permanent for this franchise."

Davis has maintained his stance on wanting to keep the Raiders in Oakland. He uses the fact that sold out every home game last season - though playing in the smallest stadium in the NFL with just some 54k seat capacity - as proof the fans still support this team despite the fact the team has won just 11 games over the past three seasons.

"This season showed what our fan base is all about," Davis continued. "I think that Thursday night game (week 11 against the Chiefs), in the rain, 0-10, and it was just phenomenal. And then the 49er game was just phenomenal. I want to give some props to people in this building. Tom Blanda working with the security people and everything else, that was a phenomenal event. Everybody enjoyed it, there were no fights, there was nothing going on. Those things need to be known about this area because everybody thinks Raider fans are this, Raider fans are that. They're the greatest fans on Earth."

Mark's words were convincing enough to new head coach Jack Del Rio, an East Bay Native, to ease his mind about any uncertainty of where the team would be playing in the near future.

"I'm comfortable with Mark and I talking about that subject and the answer being we are committed to making it work here in Oakland," Del Rio said during his introductory press conference Friday. "That's all I needed to hear."

Over the past couple seasons the stadium efforts as well as efforts to gain corporate support from around the Bay Area have been spearheaded by Chief Financial Officer Marc Badain. Davis officially announced Friday that Badain had been named Team President. That is something Davis said a couple years ago he was "leery to do anything before a stadium situation is figured out."

Badain receiving the official title of President therefore suggests that the stadium situation is far more clear now than it was at that time. That also could suggest, if Davis' intentions are true on receiving the one-year extension, he is feeling more optimistic about that stadium being in Oakland.

Even with the primary goal being to stay in Oakland, along with the team opting out of making the move to Los Angeles this off-season, Davis said he will "absolutely" continue to monitor the stadium situation there.

"Think always about A, B and C as options but we're trying to be here," he said. "We want to be here. We're not using any other place, city or whatever, as leverage. It's not that way. It's known that no matter what we do here, it will not be as valuable or economically as great for the Raiders as if we went somewhere else. That's known. But we still want to be here."

Financially speaking, Los Angeles have the Rams owner Stan Kroenke planning to build a stadium there which Davis could decide to join in on. He turned down that opportunity with the 49ers' new stadium, and was not fond of the idea of being a tenant in their stadium.

The Raiders currently have $500 million for their new stadium -- $300 million of which would be supplied by the Raiders and $200 million from the NFL. That, according to Davis' estimations are still $500 million short of the needed finances to build a new stadium.

Levi's stadium, where the 49ers now play, was a $1.3 billion stadium, which Davis says is about $300 million more than the Raiders would need for their proposed stadium.

"We're not building ... we don't need to build a ... I don't know what you'd call it but we don't need to build that kind of stadium," Davis said of Levi's Stadium.

Oakland's new mayor, Libby Schaaf, is said to be working hard to keep the Raiders as well as the A's in Oakland and is picking up where former Mayor Jean Quan left off in those efforts.

The previous plans for "Coliseum City" have been in the works for a couple years now. Most recently some revised plans were even presented to the Olympics committee as part of a bid to host the 2024 Olympics (they ended up choosing Boston as the potential US host city).

That finances for a new stadium have long been the sticking point. The Raiders and the NFL are meeting the city halfway in that area. And unlike the A's and Warriors, who the Raiders have also been adamant about wanting to remain in Oakland.

The second extension along with naming Badain team president and Del Rio coming onboard are all positive signs the Raiders are serious about remaining in Oakland and Oakland is serious about trying to make it possible. They now have another year on the clock to get something done.