ORLANDO -- It started as a few of us talking to Raiders owner Mark Davis and it turned into a large gaggle fairly quickly, as tends to happen at meetings like this ...
I got in many questions about the relationship between the A's and Raiders involving the Coliseum site, about Davis' role in and opinion of the voiding of Rodger Saffold's contract, about his view of the Raiders' roster, and more ...
---MARK DAVIS interview/gaggle transcript/
Q: Did you see Lew Wolff's comments about Oakland maybe trying to figure out if it's the A's or you guys for a Coliseum site stadium?
DAVIS: No, I didn't see his comments.
Q: He made it sound like the A's need to know whether it's you guys or them. Do you think it might come down to that?
DAVIS: I don't know. Again, they're talking Coliseum City is the Raiders, the A's and the Warriors.
Q: You think there could be a leverage-play here with the A's saying it's either us or the Raiders on this thing?
DAVIS: I hadn't heard that. I heard him say that he wasn't trying to run us out, so ...
Q: Wolff said they want to do a 10-year extension.
Q: And put money into a new videoboard. And they don't want to do it if they're going to knock down the Coliseum and build a new stadium ...
Q: How complicated is that for you?
DAVIS: Well, it's complicated ... In the '60s you had the multipurpose stadiums, which were great for all the communities. But now the baseball and the football, we're the last ones left.
We need to get something -- both of us really need stadiums, new ones.
And there's no blame I don't think between the A's and the Raiders or the city or anybody else. We just have to get something done if we can.
Q: If Wolff's saying he needs a 10-year lease ...
DAVIS: That would make it tough for us to build a new stadium on that site.
So that would make it tough.
Q: Do you think it's easier or harder with more teams involved?
DAVIS: I really don't know. I don't know what they're thinking. All I know is that I believe that Tom Barrack and Colony Capital made sense, I thought they were people that could get it done, and we'll see.
Q: Any more talks recently?
DAVIS: Not a thing. I had lunch with the mayor.
Q: When do you need to know?
DAVIS: Yesterday. (Laughs.) She had said publicly that we would know by the end of the season and then now it's we will know by summer.
Q: Does that mean before training camp, you think?
DAVIS: I would hope so.
Q: And if you don't hear by then?
DAVIS: Then we'll have to figure out what the future is.
Q: Are you confident that the city grasps the urgency?
DAVIS: Absolutely, and I think they're trying. But it's not just the city. There's a lot of moving parts—there's the city, there's the county, there's the mayor's office, there's the people of Colony Capital, the Raiders, the A's, the Warriors ...
They're trying to put it all together.
Q: You're on a one-year lease with the Coliseum. Is it probable that you'll need another lease extension past 2014?
DAVIS: Not unless there's progress. Real progress, like a deal.
Q: So you could be out of there after this season?
DAVIS: I don't know about that. I couldn't say that. I can't predict any of this stuff.
Q: So there are no talks about a lease extension beyond this season?
DAVIS: No. I wasn't talking about a lease extension this season. But the fact that Colony Capital came in and showed some progress, at least in the beginning ...
Q: I keep asking you this: Is the prospect of sharing the Santa Clara with the 49ers back on the agenda at all?
DAVIS: As I've explained many, many, many times, it would be like the Raiders would be like the Jets in the old Meadowlands. We would be a tenant.
And that's not what I'm looking for, for the future of the Raiders' organization.
Q: Do you think your fans should be worried about losing the team to LA?
DAVIS: That's a tough question. I don't know how to answer that, to be honest.
Q: Do they have anything to worry about?
DAVIS: I don't know how to answer that. 'To worry about'?
Q: That you'll move to Los Angeles.
DAVIS: No, not at this time. We're trying to get something done in Oakland ... We'll see what happens there.
And then the next step would be if Oakland doesn't happen. Then we'll see what's after that.
Q: On the decision to void the Saffold contract, it was reported that you made the call.
DAVIS: Reggie made the decision. I gave my opinion.
Q: What was your opinion?
DAVIS: My opinion was that he was an injured player and I didn't know whether that was the best thing for us to do at that time.
Q: Is there a concern with the number of injured guys you've acquired lately?
DAVIS: No, just ... The Saffold thing, I think it was actually a positive for the organization that the medical staff caught something that possibly could've come back to bite us.
Q: So the system worked?
DAVIS: That's exactly well said.
Q: Why do you think there's a perception that the decision was about something other than medical reasons?
DAVIS: Because it's the Raiders. (Laughs.)
Q: It seemed like you lost Veldheer by signing Saffold, and then you lost Saffold. Is that how it happened?
DAVIS: I don't know about that. You'd have to ask Reggie.
Q: Do you regret losing Veldheer?
DAVIS: You have to ask Reggie about that stuff.
Q: We always talk about foundation players. Who are your foundation players right now?
DAVIS: That's a good question. I'd have to think about that. I'll get back to you on that one.
Q: We used to say it was Veldheer and Houston as two of them.
DAVIS: That's what you used to say, right?
Q: Yeah, me, maybe others. Players in their mid-20s. Do you have any guys like that any more?
DAVIS: Foundation guys ... guys that are what people would look at and say, 'That's a Raider.' I don't know. It would be hard to say.
Marcel Reece is a leader of this team, he's a captain of this team. But we'll see. I'll have to answer that later for you.
Q: Is that a concern for you that you can't readily name a bunch of those guys?
DAVIS: I want to find that. I want to find somebody that's going to be 'the Raider.'
Q: Is Matt Schaub going to be one of those guys?
DAVIS: I haven't met Matt yet. We'll see.
Q: Excited about Schaub?
Q: What advice would you give to a new owner taking over like is happening in Detroit?
DAVIS: (Laughs.) I'll tell you guys this, why would anybody want one of these? (Laughs.) I don't.
Advice? I don't know.
Q: What's been the most difficult thing?
DAVIS: This. (Smiles.)
DAVIS: No, this is easy stuff.
I think giving the organization a new direction really is the one of the things, inside of the organization ... I knew there were a lot of people in the organization who hadn't had a chance to shine before, and giving them an opportunity to do that. And I think in this last year or so they've proven they can do a great job.
Q: Richie Incognito said he thinks he'd fit in with the Raiders. You think he would?
DAVIS: I would say, ask Reggie.
Q: If a coach or GM recommended him, would he be welcome?
DAVIS: I'd have to think about that at that time. But that would be Reggie's decision.
Q: Where do you think you are in this reconstruction process?
DAVIS: We'll find out. This is a really exciting time for us on that; this is what we've been building for, as you well know. Two years of deconstruction and everything else and now the opportunity to have signed free agents, and have the cap space, and now we have draft choices ... we'll see.
I think it's a pretty exciting time; I think it's going pretty well.
Q: Are you coming up on the payroll floor? Are you to the point where you have to sign guys to get over it?
DAVIS: Having to sign them? No, we're not worried about that. It's, we've gone through the first days of free agency, we have the draft coming up. There will be a second stage of free agency because of guys getting cut and different players being replaced by guys that were drafted, so there'll be a whole other stage of this.
Q: When you brought McKenzie and Allen back this season, was there any implied position from you that they need to win this season? That this has to be the year?
DAVIS: Explain, 'when I brought them back' ...
Q: Well, you didn't release them.
Q: Is there a sense that they've got to win?
DAVIS: We always want to win, you know that. But there's no extra sense of urgency in that aspect.
Q: Are you generally pleased with what's happened in their tenures here?
DAVIS: Not the winning and losing, but I think the process that we've had to go through to get the team to where it is now has been done pretty well.