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Countdown to kickoff: 39 is shared Raiders career interception record

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Lester Hayes
Lester Hayes

Tonight we saw the first NFL football played in six months with the Preseason Hall of Fame game in Canton Ohio between the Ravens and Bears. As for NFL football that counts, we’re exactly five weeks from that. That’s, of course, the Thursday Night opener.

The Raiders season opener will wait four days after that until Monday night when they face the Rams in Oakland. That’s 39 days from now.

A week ago, to start camp, the Raiders held their alumni weekend. Among those alums were a couple of Raider legends who share a franchise record — Willie Brown and Lester Hayes who both had 39 interceptions in a Raiders uniform. Brown is in the Hall of Fame; Hayes should be.

Brown spent 12 of his 16 NFL seasons in Oakland and he had 15 interceptions over four seasons in Denver before he arrived. He retired two years after playing Super Bowl hero for the Raiders and then joined them as an assistant coach.

Hayes joined the Raiders as a 5th round draft choice, the year after they won their first Super Bowl. Brown passed the torch on to Hayes in 1978 who locked down one side of the field for the Raiders other two Super Bowls.

Hayes was a career Raider, putting up his 39 picks over ten seasons with the team. His 13 interceptions in 1980 set an NFL modern era record that will probably never be broken. He retired following the 1986 season, tying Brown’s record in his second to last game as a pro.