Last week, several Raiders legends attended the team’s offseason program.
In a tweet sent out by the team, Las Vegas Raiders’ star defensive end Maxx Crosby greeted former star linebacker Phil Villapiano and said that his speech to the team in his rookie year in 2019 changed his mindset heading into the league.
Past and present, but always a Raider ☠️— Las Vegas Raiders (@Raiders) June 3, 2023
Raiders alumni were invited to practice this week where they shared some wisdom and advice to the current roster. pic.twitter.com/IrtvbJfwd6
I decided to reach out to the man they call Foo and ask him if he remembers what he exactly said in that 2019 speech when the team was still in Oakland. The always gracious Villapiano explained that his team speeches are usually from the hip and they always revolves around his gratitude of being a Raider and how they are simply just different.
“I tell the players it’s a privilege to be a Raider,” Villapiano said. “I don’t care what you hear or what you think, the Raiders were mysterious and everybody wanted to play for the Raiders. To think about how a pro acts and who should coach him and who the owner should be, it all came down to the Raiders being the best. I remember when Lyle Alzado was in Denver and in Cleveland, he wanted to be a Raider. Finally, Al Davis made it happen. It was his dream come true. I might be wrong, but I don’t think I am. We’re the best place to be because we were just different. Jim Plunkett was in New England and in San Francisco and couldn’t win. Then he goes to the Raiders and he wins two Super Bowls and all he wanted to be was be a Raider for the rest of his life. Marcus Allen had his problems with Al, but now all he wants to be is a Raider for the rest of his life. Mike Haynes was in New England and now all he wants to be is a Raider for the rest of his life. It’s very strange, but it’s the truth,
“I went to four Pro Bowls and the way the guys talked to me, I could tell they wanted to be a Raider too no matter what team they were on. When I was drafted, I wanted to be a Raider because they were different. I was a Raider wannabe and then I got to be. It’s pretty cool ... That’s what I tell the guys what it’s like to be a Raider.”
Villapiano said several Raiders’ legends spoke to the team last week including Art Shell, Matt Millen, Charles Woodson and Haynes. He said he could tell it meant a lot to coach Josh McDaniels and the team.
Meanwhile, be on the lookout for an upcoming episode of Peyton’s Places. Villapiano and former Raiders’ safety George Atkinson will be featured on Peyton Manning’s show that highlights the Raiders’ Oakland roots and we might even get a Madden Cruiser cameo.