It was another beautiful Napa day as it often in during Raiders training camp there. Mark Davis took in the day from a section of empty stands. Pretty much every day spent in Napa is a good day. Mark knows this. The team has been holding training camp in their current location for 20 years. Since Jon Gruden was coach before.
You won’t find a better setup than the Raiders have there in Napa. It’s highly desirable. Davis has said before that he knows should they opt to move training camp elsewhere after the team’s move to Las Vegas, Jerry Jones would pounce on that spot with a quickness.
Davis and the Raiders have explored locations in Reno and Lake Tahoe, but nothing has come of it yet. And with the team set to move in a year’s time, the likelihood of holding camp in Napa at least next year is a near certainty.
Sunday, not only did he say it was “almost for sure” the Raiders would be back in Napa next year, but they could remain there beyond that.
“I love it here,” Davis continued. “I have no problem with it, and it makes sense. No matter where we go, we’ll have to fly to Las Vegas from training camp. If we were to go to Reno, or anywhere else in the world to train, we would still have to fly there. Then, why not just fly from here?”
This is exactly the questions I have asked since the moment they made their Vegas plans known. Plenty of teams hold training camps out of state. Jerry Jones’s Cowboys for instance, who train in Oxnard California. Some teams go nowhere at all, holding camp at their own facility, which doesn’t exactly offer the training camp atmosphere.
Former Raiders linebacker Kirk Morrison played for three teams in the NFL and has been to several other camps since retiring from the league. He says none of them compare to Napa.
“I’ve always said there’s 32 training camps and by far this is the best one that I personally have been through,” said Morrison who also played for the Jacksonville Jaguars and Buffalo Bills. The Jaguars hold camp on site while the Bills go to nearby St John’s Fisher College. Not exactly camping.
“It was just the elements that we would always love being out here and just the setup,” Morrison said of Napa. “The green, being able to walk literally from your hotel room to the practice field, you didn’t have to walk or drive anywhere. It was to a point where when you come to Napa, you parked your car and you literally watch it accumulate dirt for two weeks and you wouldn’t leave because there was no reason to leave. Everything was right here for you.
“If the Raiders ever do leave here, trust me there would be a lot of teams that would love to come down here and have a very comfortable training camp because not only does it bring out a lot of people, but it brings out some camaraderie as well.”
It’s good to see that Mark Davis at least shares the feeling about Napa. Hopefully his decision will be based on that.