Gruden hire makes it clear: Raiders’ Davis is a mover, shaker

ALAMEDA — Jon Gruden will be the center of attention Tuesday when he is introduced as the Raiders head coach.

Yet the day is as much about owner Mark Davis as it is about Gruden.

Like it or not, Davis has altered the NFL landscape twice within the last nine months.

It’s a tossup as to which Davis move is more bold — getting approval to move his franchise to Las Vegas in late March or luring Gruden back into the organization 16 years after he was traded, with the last nine in the broadcast booth.

Either way, it might be time to stop underestimating Mark Davis.

You may believe the concepts of Vegas and Gruden will lead to the Raiders doom. Yet there’s no denying Davis has dramatically altered any expectations of him as a mover (Vegas) and a shaker (Gruden).

It’s been more than six years since Al Davis died at age 82, with Mark ascending to managing general partner. Not much was known about Mark Davis. To this day, the Raiders media guide has only a photo of the owner with no biography.

We know he’s either 62 or 63 years old, even the Raiders media relations department doesn’t know for sure. We know he’d been around the franchise for years, without specific duties ever being spelled out. You could find him courtside at Warriors games with close friend and Raiders legend Cliff Branch.

Al Davis rarely talked about Mark publicly, although he did openly wonder about his son’s relationships with players. Mark, Al reasoned, would have difficulty parting with players with to whom he had become close.

Being the son of the Raiders icon and patriarch had its challenges. Warm and fuzzy have never been adjectives of the Al Davis experience.

As Mark became more involved with the franchise, he would occasionally be subjected to withering …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Sports

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