Raiders Reggie McKenzie Named Sporting News Executive of the Year

ALAMEDA, Calif.Oakland Raiders General Manager Reggie McKenzie was named the Sporting News NFL Executive of the Year, Sporting News announced Monday. The honor was determined by a vote of NFL team executives.

In 2016, McKenzie’s fifth year as general manager, the Raiders posted a 12-4 record and advanced to the postseason for the first time since the 2002 campaign. The Raiders had an NFL-high seven Pro Bowl selections, had two players earn first-team All-Pro recognition and DE Khalil Mack was named the Associated Press Defensive Player of the Year.

Since being named General Manager by Owner Mark Davis in 2012, four Raiders draft picks have gone on to receive Pro Bowl selections. Mack, the Raiders’ first-round pick in 2014, earned his second straight Pro Bowl nod, while QB Derek Carr, the team’s second-round selection that year, emerged as a Most Valuable Player candidate and has received Pro Bowl invitations in each of the last two seasons. WR Amari Cooper, the team’s first-round pick in 2015, has also earned two Pro Bowl selections after beginning his career with consecutive 1,000-yard receiving campaigns. RB Latavius Murray, a sixth-round pick in 2013, earned a Pro Bowl bid in 2015 and was named an alternate this past year.

In addition, 10 players drafted by the Raiders in the fourth round or later since 2013 have started multiple games for the team and six different draft picks have earned All-Rookie honors.

Last offseason, the Raiders signed LB Bruce Irvin, S Reggie Nelson, G/T Kelechi Osemele and CB Sean Smith, securing four of the “top 25 available free agents” according to NFL.com. All seven of the team’s draft picks saw significant action during the season and first-round selection S Karl Joseph was named to the PFWA All-Rookie Team. A remarkable seven undrafted free agents, acquired by the Raiders in the weeks following the 2016 NFL Draft, finished the season on the team’s active roster.

Press Release Courtesy of the Oakland Raiders Media Relations

Oakland Raiders Receive NFL Approval For Las Vegas Relocation

ALAMEDA, Calif. – The Oakland Raiders have received conditional approval from the National Football League to relocate the franchise to Las Vegas, Nevada.

“My father always said, ‘the greatness of the Raiders is in its future,’ and the opportunity to build a world-class stadium in the entertainment capital of the world is a significant step toward achieving that greatness. I would like to thank Commissioner Goodell, the National Football League and my 31 partners. I would also like to thank Governor Brian Sandoval and the Nevada Legislature for their commitment. Finally, I would like to thank Sheldon Adelson for his vision and leadership, without which this project never would have become a reality.

“The Raiders were born in Oakland and Oakland will always be part of our DNA. We know that some fans will be disappointed and even angry, but we hope that they do not direct that frustration to the players, coaches and staff. We plan to play at the Coliseum in 2017 and 2018, and hope to stay there as the Oakland Raiders until the new stadium opens. We would love nothing more than to bring a championship back to the Bay Area.”

– Mark Davis

Press Release Courtesy of the Oakland Raiders Media Relations

Sacramento Republic FC Defeats Seattle Sounders FC 2 2-1

Sacramento Republic FC dominate possession and score two second half goals to win their USL season opener over Seattle Sounders FC 2 for the second consecutive season.

Sounders FC 2 came out of the gate strong, applying solid pressure on the Republic FC defense who were able to stifle most of the early chances. S2 would break through however in the 5th minute on an Irvin Parra free kick. After a foul about 35 yards away from goal, Parra stepped up and sent a short free kick that bounced a few times before finding defender Brian Nana-Sinkam who drove a shot on goal that skipped up right in front of goal, hit the bottom of the post before bouncing against the ground and up again into the top of the net, giving S2 the early 1-0 lead.

Republic FC seemed energized following the goal and went on to dominate the possession for the remainder of the half, owning 55 percent of the ball in the first half. Republic FC had one of their best looks on goal of the first half in the 23rd minute after an interception by Sammy Ochoa. The forward moved the ball down the middle of the field before laying it off to midfielder Adam Moffat who had come up in support. Moffat then took a strong shot toward the far side of the goal, but a diving Bryan Meredith was there to knock the ball away from goal and keep S2’s narrow 1-0 lead.

In the 32nd minute Ochoa would instigate another Republic FC attack. Ochoa took the ball down the right side of the field almost to the goal line before picking out forward Tyler Blackwood who was all alone on the left side of the box. Blackwood settled the ball before sending a curling shot toward the top right corner of the goal, but the shot missed just high and wide of the goal keeping the match 1-0 at half.

Republic FC continued their dominance on the ball in the second half and were rewarded in the 65th minute. Midfielder Agustin Cazarez knocked down a short clearance by S2 right to the feet of defender James Kiffe at the top of the box. Kiffe took a strong left footed strike toward goal that deflected off Ochoa who was perfectly placed in the box. Ochoa’s deflection beat Meredith and found the goal just inside the far post, leveling the score 1-1.

In the 70th minute it looked as though Republic FC might have taken the lead. Moffat found a loose ball near the top of the box and one-touched a left-footed strike that hit the inside of the far post, rolled along the line, hit the near post and then looked to be in the goal, but was judged to have not crossed the line as Meredith ran quickly to retrieve the ball.

Republic FC would find the go-ahead, and ultimately winning goal, in the 83rd minute. After a barrage of shots by Republic FC, the ball was cleared, but only as far as Ochoa on the right side of the box. The forward tapped the ball back to substitute defender Emrah Klimenta, playing in his first USL match since tearing his ACL in a match against S2 on July 2, 2016. Klimenta took a touch forward before blasting a grounded shot toward the far post, that got under the arm of a diving Meredith and into the back of the net giving Republic FC the 2-1 lead.

Republic FC dominated the possession in the match, earning 61 percent of the possession and outshooting S2 28 to eight. 28 shots is a record in a single USL match for Republic FC, beating the previous mark of 24 against Arizona United SC on Sept. 19, 2015. Republic FC also tied their record for most shots in a single half with 15 in the second half, tying their second half performance against Orange County Blues FC on Aug. 17, 2014.

Republic FC will return to Sacramento for their Opening Night at Papa Murphy’s Park on Saturday, Apr. 1. They will take on Orange County SC with kickoff scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available at Ticketmaster.com.

Match Recap Courtesy of the Sacramento Republic FC Media Relations

 

Sacramento Republic FC Re-Sign Defender Chris Christian

Christian will rejoin Republic FC for second season in 2017.

SACRAMENTO, Calif.Sacramento Republic FC have agreed to a one-season contract with defender Chris Christian, pending league and federation approval. Christian will begin training with the club on Monday, Mar. 27 and will not be available for selection for Sunday’s match against Seattle Sounders FC 2.

“We are delighted to have Chris back for another season,” said Republic FC Head Coach and Technical Director Paul Buckle. “There was total transparency at the end of last season for Chris to view other options in Europe, while we kept the door open for him to make the return. This is a great move for us, especially with our situation at center back. We welcome someone back who we know very, very well and who our fans know well.”

The defender made 28 USL appearances for Republic FC in 2016, all starts. Christian was one of only three Republic FC players to play over 2,500 USL minutes in 2016. Prior to Republic FC, Christian played for Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC and Atlanta Silverbacks FC (NASL), as well as Ghana Premier League club Liberty Professionals FC and Moto Lubin, a Polish team.

Christian will rejoin Republic FC on Monday, Mar. 27 and is anticipated to be available for selection beginning with Republic FC’s Opening Night match against Orange County SC on Saturday, Apr. 1 at Papa Murphy’s Park.

Press Release Courtesy of the Sacramento Republic FC Media Relations

Oakland Raiders Sign LB Jelani Jenkins

ALAMEDA, Calif. – The Oakland Raiders have signed unrestricted free agent LB Jelani Jenkins, the club announced Monday.

Jenkins signs with the Raiders following four seasons with the Miami Dolphins, who originally drafted him in the fourth round (104th overall) of the 2013 NFL Draft. His career totals include 53 games played with 34 starts, 219 tackles (156 solo), 3.5 sacks, three forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and five passes defensed.

Last season, Jenkins appeared in nine games and made seven starts for the Dolphins, helping the team make the postseason for the first time since 2008. He recorded 29 tackles (15), and one pass defensed on the year.

In 2014, the 6-foot, 240-pounder played in 15 games and made 14 starts for Miami. Jenkins led the team and set a career high with 108 tackles (81) and posted 3.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and one pass defensed.

A native of Olney, Md., Jenkins played in 36 games over three seasons at Florida, totaling 182 tackles (109), six sacks, three interceptions and seven passes defensed.

Press Release Oakland Raiders Media Relations 

Oakland Raiders Re-Sign LS Jon Condo

ALAMEDA, Calif. – The Oakland Raiders have re-signed LS Jon Condo, the club announced Monday.

Condo will return to the Raiders for his 11th season in 2017 after serving as the team’s long snapper since 2007. He originally joined the team’s practice squad in 2006 after stops with the Dallas Cowboys and the New England Patriots. Condo has played in 160 games over his career.

The 6-foot-3, 240-pounder has handled the majority of the long-snapping duties for the Raiders over the past 10 years, playing in 141 straight games from 2007-15 before a shoulder injury forced him to miss the final three games of 2015. Over his career, Condo has earned two trips to the Pro Bowl, coming in 2009 and 2011.

Last season, Condo played in all 16 games for the ninth time in his career, becoming the 19th player in franchise history to play in at least 155 games. He helped K Sebastian Janikowski to his fourth-highest single-season point total and P Marquette King earn Associated Press All-Pro Second Team honors.

The Philipsburg, Pa., native attended Maryland, where he appeared in 38 consecutive games and helped the Terrapins to three bowl game appearances.

Press Release Courtesy of the Oakland Raiders Media Relations 

Oakland Raiders Sign QB EJ Manuel

ALAMEDA, Calif. – The Oakland Raiders have signed unrestricted free agent QB EJ Manuel, the club announced Monday.

Manuel was originally drafted by the Buffalo Bills in the first round (16th overall) of the 2013 NFL Draft. The 6-foot-4, 237-pounder out of Florida State has appeared in 29 games, making 17 starts over his career, and has registered 3,502 passing yards and 19 touchdowns through the air, adding four more scores on the ground.

From 2014-2015, Manuel combined for six starts and tossed eight touchdown passes. In 10 appearances during his 2013 rookie campaign, he tallied 1,972 passing yards on 180-of-306 passing with 11 touchdowns and set franchise rookie records for most passing touchdowns and completions in a season.

The native of Virginia Beach, Va., Manuel finished his career at Florida State playing in 43 games, throwing for 47 touchdowns and 7,741 yards on 600-of-897 attempts (66.9 percent). He led the team to a 25-6 record as a starter, posing the third-most wins in school history. Manuel became just the second quarterback in FBS history to win four straight bowl games.

Press Release Courtesy of the Oakland Raiders Media Relations 

Sacramento Republic FC Ties With San Francisco Deltas 0-0

Goalkeeper Dominik Jakubek and Sacramento Republic FC’s defense hold the San Francisco Deltas scoreless as the two Northern California sides play to a draw in Deltas’ first home match at Kezar Stadium.

The first half of the match was hotly contested with both sides trying to make their mark on the match. The San Francisco Deltas would have the first strong look at a goal in the 9th minute following a giveaway in the middle of the pitch. Midfielder Kyle Bekker had a one-on-one opportunity with Republic FC keeper Dominik Jakubek, but Jakubek was able to get to a knee quickly to block Bekker’s shot. The forward was there to collect the rebound however, and looked to loft a shot over Jakubek who was still on the ground, but the keeper was there again to save the second shot, corralling the rebound to keep the match scoreless.

Republic FC would see their best chance of the half in the 20th minute. Midfielder Danny Barrera took a corner that found fellow midfielder Adam Moffat at the back corner of the box. Moffat took a few touches before laying the ball off to midfielder Agustin Cazarez who sent a beautifully curling cross toward the back post. Deltas’ keeper Romuald Peiser was forced to make a leaping deflection, but only as far as Barrera who was backing up the play. Barrera, however, was called offside, ending the play and leaving the match scoreless at the half.

Republic FC came out as the aggressor in the second half, attacking the defense early and often. In the 47th minute they would have their first strong chance on goal. After driving the ball toward the right corner of the box, Barrera laid the ball off to defender Emrah Klimenta who was making an overlapping run on the right side. Klimenta then fired a low cross into the box that found Trevin Caesar but the forward’s shot was deflected high off the goal.

The Deltas’ best look of the second half came in the 65th minute. Midfielder Jackson received the ball near the right corner of the box following a few back and forth passes on the right side. Jackson found a clear shot on goal, but Jakubek, who covered his inside post perfectly, saved the midfielder’s strong effort.

Despite a push by Republic FC’s substitutes in the final quarter of the match, neither defense would yield a goal, ending the match in a scoreless draw.

Republic FC will return to Papa Murphy’s Park on Wednesday, Mar. 22 when they take on the San Jose Earthquakes. Kickoff is 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available at Ticketmaster.com.

Match Recap Courtesy of the Sacramento Republic FC Media Relations

Sacramento Republic FC Add More MLS Experience, Sign Defender Julius James

James brings five seasons and over 90 matches of MLS experience to Republic FC roster.

SACRAMENTO, Calif.Sacramento Republic FC have agreed to a contract with Julius James for the 2017 USL season, pending league and federation approval. James played the last four seasons in the NASL, winning the Soccer Bowl in 2014 with the San Antonio Scorpions.

“Julius brings us a great amount of experience,” said Republic FC Head Coach and Technical Director Paul Buckle. “He has a strong voice and an opinion and he is not afraid of casting that opinion on the game and that is what we want. It will take him a little while to settle in, but he will bring vast experience and a lot of know-how to the back four.”

James played in 95 career MLS matches over five seasons. The defender was originally drafted 9th overall in the 2008 MLS SuperDraft by Toronto FC. James played with Toronto, Houston Dynamo, D.C. United and Columbus Crew in his MLS career before moving to the NASL in 2013. He played with North Carolina FC (then the Carolina Railhawks), San Antonio Scorpions and in 2016 with the Fort Lauderdale Strikers. James helped the Scorpions win the 2014 Soccer Bowl. James made 68 NASL appearances in his four seasons in the league.

The defender has also featured for the Trinidad and Tobago Men’s National Team. James earned his first cap against Guyana on Sept. 3, 2008 and has since made 15 other appearances with his National Team. James is one of four Republic FC players to have capped with their national teams, joining Trevin Caesar (Trinidad and Tobago), Emrah Klimenta (Montenegro) and Jeremy Hall (Puerto Rico).

Republic FC will return to action on Saturday, Mar. 18 when they travel to San Francisco to take on the San Francisco Deltas in their final road friendly of the preseason. Kickoff is 7 p.m. at Kezar Stadium. Republic FC will return to Papa Murphy’s Park on Wednesday, Mar. 22 when they take on the San Jose Earthquakes. Kickoff is 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available at Ticketmaster.com.

Press Release Courtesy of the Sacramento Republic FC Media Relations

Sacramento River Cats Take On San Jose Giants At Raley Field

Cross-level scrimmage to feature San Francisco’s top prospects Wednesday, April 5 at Raley Field
West Sacramento, CA – The Sacramento River Cats are excited to announce a cross-level scrimmage against the San Jose Giants, the class-A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants. The two teams will go head-to-head in a scrimmage at Raley Field on Wednesday, April 5, just one day before Sacramento’s Opening Day. Tickets for the game start at just $5 and are available now at rivercats.com.

This pre-season scrimmage is an extension of Spring Training and is likely to feature many of San Francisco’s top prospects. Christian Arroyo and Tyler Beede – the system’s top two prospects – are expected to take the field for the River Cats while 2016 first-round pick Bryan Reynolds (No. 4 prospect) may start for the San Jose squad. Other prospects likely to be involved in the game include Joan Gregorio (No. 7), Jalen Miller (No. 15), Heath Quinn (No. 17), and Sacramento fan-favorite Austin Slater (No. 22).

First pitch on Wednesday, April 5 at Raley Field is set for 6:05 pm. Gates for the game will open at 5:00 pm with parking lots to open at 4:30 pm. Parking will be $5.

General admission tickets start at just $5. There will be a $10 ticket option which includes a general admission ticket, a hot dog, chips, and a soda. Tickets can be purchased online at rivercats.com.

All River Cats season ticket members will have tickets to the exhibition game included with their plan. For more information please email tickets@rivercats.com or call (916) 376-HITS (4487).

Press Release Courtesy of the Sacramento River Cats Media Relations