Compiled by RaiderBeat.com Staff
MITCHELL MAKES RETURN
A non-sensical rule prohibits drafted players whose college classes haven’t concluded their spring semesters from participating in more than one offseason gathering.
Raiders coach Tom Cable preferred that his affected players take part in the mandatory mini camp in early May.
Wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey missed the first week of the Organized Team Activities because of the rule. He returned two weeks ago.
Now Cable is looking forward to the return of rookie safety Mike Mitchell. It’s a safe bet that Mitchell is champing at the bit while waiting for another chance to show what he can do.
Mitchell’s class finished its spring semester last week, which means Mitchell is back in the mix and expected at practice Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of this week.
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Raiders backup quarterback Andrew Walter has spent only as much time as required at the team’s facility this offseason. That amounts to three days for the mini camp.
He has steered clear of the Quarterback School set up by quarterbacks coach Paul Hackett and Cable. He has ignored the OTA sessions the past month. He has made it clear that he is looking beyond his Raiders career.
We might now know where Walter is looking. He has enrolled in the NFL Broadcast Boot Camp at NFL Films in Mt. Laurel, N.J., later this summer.
Walter and Raiders backup tight end Tony Stewart are two of the 24 players signed up for the program hosted by CBS’ James Brown. Former Raiders Danny Clark and La’Roi Glover also ae scheduled to take part in the program.
The program runs June 22-25 and includes hands-on work in areas such as videotape breakdown, editing, show preparation, radio production, control-room operation, studio preparation, production meetings, field reporting and game preparation.
Each player is allowed to tape segments as a studio and game analyst and take part in a networking session with television executives. Each player also will serve as a live radio host on SIRIUS NFL Radio.
Twenty one of the 40 players who took part in the NFLL Broadcast Boot Camp in 2007 and 2008 already have earned broadcasting jobs as a result of their participation in the program.
“We continue to look for ways to help players develop skills to enhance their NFL and post-NFL careers. Many of last year’s participants used this program as a career springboard and two have returned to help this year’s class,” said NFL vice president of labor policy and player development Adolpho Birch.
“The support of the NFL’s broadcast partners will provide our players with a foundation for understanding the sports broadcasting business,” said Chris Henry, the NFL director of player development.
“The NFLPA will continue to develop strategic alliances that will lead to the creation of programs like the Broadcast Boot Camp. These programs provide players the opportunity to gain valuable experience and help to prepare them for life after football,” said Stacy Robinson, the director of player development for the NFL Players Association.
It’s nice to know that Walter might have something to fall back on once he is released by the Raiders in the coming days or weeks.
GRUDEN GIVING BACK
Former Raiders coach Jon Gruden has plenty of time on his hands, thanks to the Raiders helping end the season of Gruden’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers and hasten his firing.
Gruden is taking advantage of all his free time, while he prepares for his new gig as the third man in the booth on Monday Night Football.
He is one of five current or former NFL coaches scheduled to participate in the inaugural NFL-USO Coaches Tour in the Persian Gulf later this month.
Gruden said he is fired up – isn’t he always – about the morale-building visit.
“I’m excited to meet our troops and learn about what they’re doing over there. They are some of the greatest teammates, some of the most mentally tough people that make it happen in the world. The loyalty, the passion, the commitment they have, it permeates everywhere. I’ve got some friends in the service from here in Tampa, and I’m excited to see at close-range what it’s really all about.
“You’re talking about people who are all the way over there where the temperatures exceed 130 degrees. These people miss their loved ones. They’ve been over there a long time. I’m sure they have the same fears that the rest of us have. To go over there play football and give my thanks for all that they are doing, I’m really looking forward to the opportunity and the experience.
“I don’t know exactly what to expect when we’re there but I’m just there to show support for every person I meet, and try to raise spirits. We’re going to be there on the Fourth of July, which is just going to be awesome. It’s a big day for our country and it stands for a lot, especially for those in the military. I’m going to be part of the team and whatever is asked of me, I’m going to jump in and have fun doing it.
“If I have to give a speech, I’ll be ready to go. I’ve been fortunate enough to be in some locker rooms with championship football players, but to be around championship soldiers, I’m going to have to tune it up a bit. Maybe I’ll come up with some flag football games there. We’ve got a great group going over there. I just hope I don’t have to play Tom Coughlin because he beat me pretty bad the last couple of times.”