The 8.8-acre site—the baseball Brett brothers got their start there—is less than a mile from the ocean and about two miles from L.A. airport. The school was closed three years ago because of declining enrollment. The Raiders may use El Segundo Senior High until the new site is ready. If not, they'll practice each week in the Bay Area and fly to all their regular-season games. "They'll all be road games," sighed LaRue.
Davis said the one group he wanted to shield from trauma was the players, but that was a vain hope. Dave Dalby, the veteran center from UCLA (which, by the way, has now moved its home football site from the Coliseum to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena), said, "It's such a sad thing when I think of the Oakland fans."
The Oakland Coliseum and that city's fathers cling to the hope that the city's eminent domain suit, the appeal of the May 7 verdict or the NFL's Washington lobby may yet return the team to Oakland, but they may be whistling in the wind. Davis still has his home in the Piedmont area of the Oakland Hills, and LoCasale has his in nearby Alameda. Coach Tom Flores will reside in Lafayette for one more year, until his daughter graduates from high school, and then he expects to move south. "If I can afford it," said Flores.
For now the players seem more concerned about logistics than football. As Wide Receiver Bob Chandler, who has lived in the L.A. area for years, put it, "This has to take its toll on us. I don't know if most guys can realistically comment on it, because no one has ever done it before. I don't think it enhances the atmosphere. We still really haven't been told the agenda. It's the not knowing that's difficult."
"I have a condo in Oakland," said Tackle Henry Lawrence. "I guess I'll rent it." "I like my house up there," said Tackle Art Shell. "So do my wife and two sons. I'm going to keep it. But times are changing, I guess."
"When we put on the black jersey, we're at home wherever," said Linebacker Rod Martin. "I own a house in the Bay Area, and I'm not in a hurry to sell it."
Safety Mike Davis, the team's player rep, said he felt the players should be financially compensated for the move. "In a sense, we've all been traded or transferred, that's the business term," said Davis. "I have two mortgages to pay now, and I don't want a third."
Fullback Mark van Eeghen was incensed when the move was first brought up nearly three years ago. He went on record in a tirade about the ethics of such a switch. But as Cornerback Lester Hayes said, "We had to realize that business is business."
A sobered van Eeghen confronted Al Davis after practice one day. "Don't you care, aren't you mad about what I said?" he asked.
Said Davis, "Just win."