Marcel Reece first put on a Raiders uniform in 2009 as a rookie out of Washington.
Oakland’s head coach that season was Tom Cable. Cable was succeeded by Hue Jackson, then Dennis Allen and Tony Sparano. Now, as Reece enters his seventh pro season, he’ll be playing for his fifth head coach.
But the three-time Pro Bowl fullback says the Del Rio era already feels much different than the previous administrations.
Reece calls Del Rio “a great leader” who is “perfect for this team.”
Though the former linebacker and longtime NFL coach neither played or worked for the Raiders previously, Reece says Del Rio – who grew up in the Bay Area, was a fan of the Raiders and was known as a professional, hard-hitting defender and enthusiastic coach – fits the franchise perfectly.
“A lot of teams, you can place anyone as the head of their snake and they can lead that team and be successful, but for us, we’re the Raiders. It’s different,” Reece told Eddie Paskal of the team’s website. “Like the old saying goes, ‘There’s 31 teams and then there’s the Oakland Raiders.’ And there’s 31 head coaches and there’s Jack Del Rio. It’s a blessing for us to have a guy like that because he’s a true Raider. That’s who he is, and it’s not just that he grew up a Raider, but it’s everything about him. You can’t really teach being a Raider. You just are.”
Reece -- who is expected to play more of a versatile H-back role in 2015 -- isn’t alone in his excitement about playing for Del Rio. Quarterback Derek Carr and linebacker Khalil Mack are among several Oakland players who have said they’re excited to be playing for Del Rio. They’ve said Del Rio’s coaching experience, enthusiasm, knowledge, personality and background as a Pro Bowl linebacker make him a coach most likely to succeed.
“You can tell that Jack really cares,” Mack told reporters this spring. “When it gets real, when the guys go off and the fire starts and the intensity goes up, you can sense that he’s ready for that moment. I’m ready to play for him.”