What is going on with the Raiders? Third player retires in camp, second exec resigns

The Las Vegas Raiders are bringing a dose of their trademarked madman to a third hometown.
Over the past week, the number of Raiders players who are retiring has increased to three. Running back Theo Riddick was the first to leave last week, followed by linebacker James Onwualu, who retired on Monday.
Then on Tuesday, Sam Young with an offensive tackle got three Raiders players to announce their decision to hang up their shoes.
In addition, there was a report on Tuesday from Sports Business Journal's Ben Fischer saying that Brandon Doll, vice president of strategy and business development, has left the team. This news follows on from team president Marc Badain, who announced his departure two weeks ago.
And to complete the circle, running back coach Kirby Wilson unexpectedly withdrew shortly before the start of the camp.
So what the hell is going on in Vegas exactly? Well, for a start, it's not clear if there is any connection at all. But could it be?
Why three players retired in such a short time
With Riddick, he had tested positive for COVID-19 and then announced that he was going away. Riddick turned 30 in March and this would have been his ninth NFL season so it's hard to call that staggering - especially given the chatter he'd considered retiring prior to being diagnosed with COVID .
Jung cannot be seen as a shock either. He turned 34 this summer and was entering his twelfth NFL season, so when it comes to football, he can hardly be called a spring chicken.
Onwualu is only 26 years old, which perhaps makes him the most surprising of the three players. But he'd only seen action in 16 games in four seasons and has stuck to NFL employment since joining the league.
What about the executives?
Badain's Exodus is the most surprising - and perhaps the most impactful - of all exits. He's been among the most senior officials in the entire operation, and the team is preparing to move into the Allegiant stadium with fans for the first time after playing empty spaces there last season.
That brings us to Doll. He apparently left the team last week and his name no longer appears in the team's imprint. Doll declined to comment on why he left.
Doll has been with the Raiders for the past eight years, starting out as a finance intern and moving up to a role as Badain's right-hand man. They first worked together to get the Raiders a stadium deal in Oakland (it didn't happen) before moving the franchise to Las Vegas and brokered the construction of the Allegiant stadium. According to Doll's former team biography, he focused on "strategic partnerships and growth initiatives related to the core businesses of Allegiant Stadium and Raiders".
Now that the Raiders are less than two weeks away from hosting a preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks, both executives are around the corner. Why? We don't have a clear picture yet.
Could Raiders owner Mark Davis (left) or head coach Jon Gruden have anything to do with the team's recent departures? (Photo by Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images)
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Is there a common connection with the departures?
The only common denominator between the retired players and the two executives, it could reasonably be concluded, are owner Mark Davis and head coach Jon Gruden. Are both responsible for this mass exodus? That is hard to say.
As early as December last, rumors were circulating (rumors that resurfaced shortly after the 2021 NFL draft) that General Manager Mike Mayock might also be someone who might not have long to Vegas. But so far these rumors have proven to be nothing more than smoke.
It is possible that both Gruden and Davis have some responsibility on at least some exits, especially with their superiors, but linking the career decisions of three random players, two executives, and an assistant coach is at this point until proven On the contrary, laborious.
Still, it's hard not to worry about the direction of the franchise. The Raiders used to thrive amid turmoil, but this is a franchise that has only completed over .500 once since 2002. Major changes to the roster in recent years have not produced better results.
Who knows what might be next? But Gruden is entering the fourth year of a 10-year $ 100 million deal and probably won't go by itself anytime soon unless it comes with a huge buyout. The feeling is that Davis isn't giving up team control either, having inherited the team from his late father.
If the Raiders find out, Gruden and Davis will likely stay in their posts. For better or for worse.
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In this article:
Las Vegas Raiders
August 15, 4:00 a.m.
vsSEA
Theo Riddick
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RB
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# 35

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