Just a few weeks ago, the situation looked bleak for Raiders fans hoping to watch their team continue to grow.
After so many seasons of disappointment, young talents such as Derek Carr, Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper were giving followers in Oakland and around the Bay Area reasons for attending home games again at O.co Coliseum, yet owner Mark Davis was ready to move the franchise to Carson as part of a joint project with the San Diego Chargers.
When the NFL instead granted the Rams the opportunity to be the primary new tenant in the Los Angeles area, the Raiders’ moving plans were shelved.
Still, the Raiders had no lease at the coliseum for 2016 and their immediate future remained in doubt.
But Monday, Davis gave local fans some good news.
In a conversation with Bay Area News Group columnist Tim Kawakami, Davis said the Raiders are close to a one-year lease to play at O.co Coliseum for the 2016 season.
So, for another season at least, Bay Area fans will get an up-close view of the continued progress of the silver and black under second-year head coach Jack Del Rio.
After 2016, however, the future location of the franchise remains in doubt.
Davis – who has said he wants to stay in the East Bay – reiterated to Kawakami that he has no desire to share the 49ers’ Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, and told Kawakami he’s still open to moving to the Los Angeles area to share a stadium with the Rams and also has looked at San Diego, should the Chargers go north.
But in a USA Today story this week, Jamie Matthews, the mayor of Santa Clara and chairman of the public stadium authority that owns Levi’s, said the Raiders would be welcome to share that facility.
It’s there for the Raiders if they want it. It could be a long-term solution, Matthews said, for the franchise to stay in the Bay Area and give Raiders fans a continued opportunity to watch Carr and Co. play out their careers.
“Levi’s Stadium was built to accommodate two home teams,” Matthews told USA Today’s Brent Schrotenboer. “We already have the locker rooms built for two home teams. We set up the LED lighting so they could change the whole feel of the stadium with a flick of a switch. All the environmental work on it has been completed and all the work permits. If we had a second team, they could move in tomorrow.”
Whether Davis would ever change his mind about moving into Levi's will be in doubt for quite a while, however.