After offseason of change, Raiders turn focus back onto football field

Members of a laborers union celebrate the Raiders move, Monday, March 27, 2017, in Las Vegas. NFL team owners approved the move of the Raiders to Las Vegas in a vote at an NFL football annual meeting in Phoenix. (AP Photo/John Locher)

As the business side of the Raiders continues to work on plans to move to Las Vegas, the players and coaches focus on the 2017 season in Oakland.

The Raiders roster begin Organized Team Activities on Monday at their facility in Alameda, Calif. The front office continues its work for the NFL Draft, scheduled from April 27 to 29 in Philadelphia. The Raiders possess the No. 24 pick in the first round.

Overshadowing the Raiders all season is their intent to move to Las Vegas for the 2020 season, potentially giving the franchise as many as three lame-duck seasons at Stadium.

The Raiders are staying in Oakland in 2017 and have an option to play at the Coliseum in 2018 that they plan to exercise. They have no lease for 2019, leading to uncertainty about where they will play that year.

Oakland officials have indicated they don't want to give the team a lease for that season and owner Mark Davis has said he doesn't want to play in Las Vegas until the new $1.9 billion stadium is ready.

That could lead to the team playing at another Bay Area location, like Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara or Memorial Stadium at Cal, or they could look for a short-term home.

Much of that decision will depend on the fan reaction in Oakland starting this year. If Houston is any indication, it doesn't figure to be good.

The Oilers averaged less than 32,000 fans a game in 1996, getting big crowds only when fans wanted to cheer for Pittsburgh and San Francisco.

By Thanksgiving, the fans stopped coming with the team drawing about 20,000 for its sixth and seventh home games before playing in front of a crowd of 15,131 in the home finale.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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