People from California tend to never really leave. Often times NFL players who are from here still make their homes. And if they have the opportunity to play professionally here can be a tempting proposition, providing the other details line up. For former Chiefs cornerback Sean Smith - a native of Pasadena -- he saw the important parts in place in Oakland which made a return to California just too good to pass up.
"They have a bunch of young talent who's ready to take that next step," Smith said of the Raiders. "The coaching staff is amazing; you couldn't ask for a better coaching staff. I just felt like with a few more pieces, this team is ready to contend, for real, for real this time."
Those kinds of statements can seem commonplace when speaking with newly signed free agent players. But there is plenty to back up such statements. Jack Del Rio has done a masterful job with personnel since his hiring as head coach last offseason. And he has hired some of the most well respected assistants, such as defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr who has is so well liked, he has gotten two of his former linebacker to join the Raiders from the Seahawks. Or Marcus Robertson who Charles Woodson raved about so much as an assistant defensive backs coach that he was retained by the current staff and promoted.
It was the recruiting by Robertson that convinced Smith to switch sides in the AFC West and come to the Raiders, which Smith said made him "feel appreciated and wanted."
"Coach Marcus Robertson was over here banging on the table for me to come over here. He expressed how badly he wanted me over here. I just felt like with that combined with being back in California, being around my family again and things of that nature just made the decision pretty much easy for me in the end."
A statement like this can tend to upset those back in Kansas City where Smith spent the past three years of his NFL career. Just as it surely upset those back in Miami when he left there for KC. That's just how this business is sometimes.
For a guy who has spent his entire adult life taking a football field someplace other than where he called home, those in Utah (college), Miami, and Kansas City will just have to understand why he made the decision he made.
Despite how easy the decision was to sign with the Raiders, it isn't all about throwing up deuces at Kansas City for Smith.
"It was(difficult), it was," Smith said of leaving Kansas City. "I have a lot of close friends, close relationships up there that it was definitely real tough to leave. Words can't explain how much that place has meant to me the past three years, but at the end of the day, I had to make the best decision for myself and my family, which is coming back to California."
That being said, a clean break is best, as Smith added "It's all about the dark side now - Raider Nation."