Homecoming in Canton Special for Raiders Coach McDaniels

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Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr talks to reporters during NFL football training camp on Saturday, July 30, 2022 in Henderson, Nev. (AP Photo/Steve Marcus)

AP

Growing up in Canton, Ohio, Josh McDaniels remembers seeing helmets with stencils painted on double-yellow lines on his way to Canton McKinley High School.

Every day, the McDaniels couldn’t help but admire the minutes sitting Pro Football Hall of Fame from the campus of McKinley, one of the most famous sports shrines in America.

“It never dawned on me that this is a special place,” the Las Vegas Raiders first-year coach said Sunday. “There is such an element of history and tradition.”

And when they adapted for the Varsity Bulldogs, their home games were played at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium, formerly Fawcett Stadium, a 22,500-seat venue that’s more than anything else for the annual game in August. more known.

So when the McDaniels take the field with the Raiders on Thursday for this year’s Hall of Fame game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, a mix of emotions and nostalgia may put the 46-year-old away.

“You’re playing right there, and you can see it on the stands,” McDaniel said. “It was a great place to be a young boy who loved football and how great it was that I had the opportunity to be back there and do it. I never dreamed it would have happened.”

The game will be extra special as the late veteran wide receiver Cliff Branch and defensive lineman Richard Seymour are inducted into the Hall of Fame at Benson Stadium on Saturday.

And while McDaniel looks forward to bringing in his wife Laura and their four children, seeing his parents, family and old friends, some coaches, and former high school teammates, he’s notably the Raiders. Excited to bring to Canton.

“We took a poll the other day and there are a lot of them that have never been there,” McDaniels said. “They’re in this fraternity and it’s this special place and I’ve been through it. I can’t tell you how many times. And every time I go through it, I see something different or new or they’ve gone through it.” Something has been added.

“You just get excited because it’s such an important part of our game and so to be able to represent the league and have our team go out there and play with Richard and Cliff, it’s just an exciting one for us. The opportunity is there and I think our team is excited.”

Punter AJ Cole III stated that he is a “sneaky museum guy” and looks forward to visiting the Hall of Fame, and will be looking for the remains of a specific former raider punter.

Cole said, “See if I can find Ray Guy’s cleats or something like that. See if they’ve got some nice artifacts in there, but yeah, it would be nice to see, the history of it, and see all the people involved.” Be there.”

Before playing on Thanksgiving for the first time last season, when the Raiders upset Dallas, quarterback Derek Carr reflected on his younger days and “Turkey Bowl” with his brother David before gathering with his family to watch the NFL. “Were playing. Slate down and eat dinner.

With another nostalgic game ahead of him, Carr said he hasn’t thought much about playing in the President’s opener, yet, his focus has been on what marks the ninth season of his career.

“To be able to play in that game, obviously, would be awesome,” Carr said. “Especially against a good football team, good front, good covers, good linebackers – it will be fun to watch. At the end of the day, we’re in training camp, so my mind is like ‘What am I supposed to do this afternoon? I got a lot at the meetings; I found a lot in the walkthrough.’ It’s already running through my mind. If I’m being honest, I haven’t thought about what it would be like, but the more I (think about) it, the better it would be.

McDaniels said that with an additional pre-season game, he and his staff will try to make the decisions they think is best for the team based on what they need to achieve each week. Whether it’s just taking the time to call plays, get into a huddle, or play third-down defense against real-time, real-speed opponents, McDaniel is ready to treat precision like pretty much everyone. have to achieve something.

This week, part of it is embracing the history and nostalgia of the game they have evolved to love and play.

“It really will be an experience,” McDaniels said. “Real is probably a good word for this … My family has spent a lot of nights there over many, many years and so it’s a special place for us, and hopefully Thursday will be a special night.”

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