Raiders excited about upgraded facilities
ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) The Oakland Raiders finally have a state-of-the-art training facility even if they are still searching for a permanent home.
The Raiders showed off their new performance center on Wednesday during their first full practice since breaking training camp in Napa.
The team has brand new practice fields to go along with an 18,500-square-foot building that features four times as much equipment as the old weight room, along with a turf field for walkthroughs and other exercises and a fuel bar designed by Gatorade to help players with their performance and recovery.
''When you see it for the first time, especially coming from the old weight room, it's jaw-dropping,'' said long snapper Jon Condo, entering his ninth season with the Raiders. ''It's definitely top of the art and one of the better weight rooms, I'd have to say, in the NFL.''
The Raiders committed to the project costing an estimated $8 million this offseason despite the uncertainty about their future. The team is playing on a one-year lease at the Oakland Coliseum and is seeking a more permanent home.
While owner Mark Davis has expressed a preference to build a new stadium in Oakland, the team is also working with the San Diego Chargers on building a new stadium in Carson near Los Angeles.
Strength and conditioning coach Joe Gomes, brought in from EXOS training facility in Arizona this offseason by coach Jack Del Rio, helped oversee the project with director of football administration Tom Delaney and senior vice president of facilities Cheryl Nichols.
Gomes said he took what he had seen work in other sports to design a facility tailored to football.
''It was even more than I expected. I can't find more things good to say about it,'' quarterback Derek Carr said. ''I'm thankful to Mr. Davis and his family to want to do this for us. It just shows the commitment to excellence. This place has to be the best around.''
Del Rio said it was important to have a world-class facility to help the players reach the high level expected of them.
Work on the new practice fields began in May, with the fields raised 14 inches to improve drainage and new grass being brought in from Palm Desert. It also provides a more forgiving surface than the old one affectionately called ''The Rock'' by players.
''I think replacing `The Rock' was huge,'' Del Rio said. ''We have a couple of excellent multi-directional fields and the drainage is phenomenal.''
The performance center took 100 days to build - about half of what would usually be expected - and included new workout equipment, multiple television screens that can be used for teaching, playing highlights or delivering motivational messages and the fuel bar.
With the dramatic increase in equipment, the strength staff can be more efficient with the entire team able to work out at one time rather than in shifts.
''It honestly exceeded what we wanted,'' Gomes said. ''Time is probably our most precious commodity here with the guys so we wanted to make sure we had the space and the equipment to efficiently manage the guys' time.''
By moving the weight room to another building, the Raiders were able to double the size of their training room and also add a steam room to help players in their recoveries.
NOTES: The Raiders signed free agent S Taylor Mays and waived LB Chase Williams. ... LB Sio Moore and RB Roy Helu returned to practice after being sidelined with injuries. ... TE Clive Walford remained sidelined and DE Justin Tuck did not practice after not playing in last Saturday's exhibition game.
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