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Silver Minings: Remembering a special moment in Raiders’ history

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A look back at Marquis Cooper and a 2009 pigeon incident

NFL: NOV 09 Panthers at Raiders
Marquis Cooper, Kirk Morrison
Photo by Al Golub/Icon Sportswire/Corbis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Back in October 2009, there was, at first glance, a hilarious moment during the Raiders and the Philadelphia Eagles in a game played at the Coliseum.

A pigeon lined up with the Raiders on a kickoff and flew down the field with the Raiders special teams unit as they made the play. It received a ton of coverage.

It certainly isn’t something you see every week in the NFL. But as the Raiders explained in a tweet Tuesday, there was greater, deeper meaning to some of the players.

In March 2009, just more than six months before that moment on the field, linebacker Marquis Cooper died in Florida after a fishing boat accident.

Cooper played with the Raiders in 2008. He was 26 when he died.

Some Raiders’ players said after the game that the pigeon was actually Cooper taking one more play with his teammates because the pigeon essentially played the same position as Cooper played the season before. The Raiders upset the Eagles that day, 13-9. They went 5-11 that season, and the Eagles finished 11-5.

I was at the stadium that day. I also closely covered Cooper’s death. That moment on the field is an incredible memory.

In other Raiders’ news links:

  • Another Raider gives back: Raiders defensive end Maxx Crosby is donating to the coronavirus effort in Las Vegas and in his hometown in Texas. Many Raiders have stepped up during this crisis.
  • Find your why: This is a cool video on what motivates Raiders’ rookie weapon Lynn Bowden Jr.
  • More on Javin White: features undrafted rookie free-agent linebacker Javin White.
  • Carson Palmer remembers: Former Carson Palmer recalls when they dealt him to Arizona in 2013.
  • More on Aaron Rodgers: These 2021 Rodgers-Raiders persist. My thoughts? Let’s get through 2020 before talking about 2021.