Don't try telling the Oakland Raiders that having a pigeon attempt to join their kicking team in Sunday's game against the Eagles was just a random and hilarious incident. Some of the Raiders feel the pigeon represented something more serious.
"It was definitely a strange event seeing that bird flying out there," Raiders running back Justin Fargas told KHTK radio in Sacramento. "It seemed comfortable on the football field and comfortable lying down there literally on special teams. It very well could have been Marquis."
"Marquis" refers to Marquis Cooper, a Raiders linebacker who lost his life in a tragic boating accident in early March. The Raiders have been paying homage to Cooper this season by wearing No. 95 decals on their helmets.
Fargas wasn't the only one who saw a little of Marquis Cooper in that pigeon. An unidentified Raider told Phil Barber of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat that he spoke with Cooper's mother after the game, and she had immediately thought the same thing.
It's not that crazy -- the pigeon lined up in the exact position at which Cooper had lined up on so many Raiders kickoffs. "That’s Marquis,” tackle Cornell Green told the Press-Democrat earlier this week. “That’s the position he played (on kickoff).”
Considering that the Raiders won the game, they'll hope that pigeon shows up to play special teams again this week against the Jets.
Joe Kukura is a freelance writer who thinks the pigeon should have gotten a game ball.