There’s always plenty of emotion when the Raiders and Chiefs get together. That emotion should be two-fold for Sean Smith who signed with the Raiders this offseason after three seasons in Kansas City. But if there’s any emotion on his part, he’s not letting on.
“Nothing special,” Smith said of facing his former team. “Just another opponent coming into the Black Hole.”
“We’re trying to go 1-0 for the week. It’s a division game. AFC game. It has some importance to it, but there’s nothing else special to me there.”
Smith is a California guy, so signing with the Raiders was a homecoming for him. That was the main reason he said he had left Kansas City for Oakland in the offseason. But it isn’t the first time he’s changed teams. He played the first four seasons of his career in Miami.
For that reason, Smith says “It’s business. . . You put on a new helmet and go to work.”
The fans of both the Raiders and Chiefs understand the importance of the rivalry. Smith developed relationships with his former Chiefs teammates, and keeps in touch with them, but otherwise he claims to have remained disconnected from the concept of a rivalry.
“I’ve never been a big rivalry guy,” Smith added. “Like I said for me, I’m just going to work. I let the fans get into it and do all that. I just show up Sunday and do my job.”
An interesting juxtaposition is his head coach, Jack Del Rio, who grew up a Raiders fan and has yet to beat the Chiefs since coming to Oakland. He too once played a couple seasons in Kansas City during his playing career. But he brushed off the idea of carrying that passion for the rivalry between these two particular franchises, and instead focusing on the idea that rivalries only exist when teams are competitive.
“There have been some great games over the years,” said Del Rio. “I think for it to be a really good rivalry, I think both teams have to have success. So we’re looking forward to having some success because that’s what our part is. Have some success, do well, play a good game against a good team.”
Though when Del Rio was asked about whether it was amped up for Raiders week during his time in Kansas City, he said only “I love the Silver and Black.”