Pro Football Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott continues to talk to Oakland government and Raiders officials about a way to keep the team where it is, and said he was “optimistic” about the chances.
Lott told Vic Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle that he and former NFL quarterback Rodney Peete are still talking to Oakland mayor Libby Schaaf and Raiders owner Mark Davis about how best to do that, as pressure mounts from a Las Vegas bid.
“I have a lot of respect for Mark,” Lott said. “We have a great relationship. I think the city and county will find a way to get this done, and Mark and the Raiders can continue to be an important part of this community.”
Lott’s investment group has a contract that gives them 90 days to work out a deal for the Coliseum, which expires at the end of November. Lott said his lawyers wouldn’t allow him to reveal the specifics of their financing plan for a stadium. Oakland officials have been adamant about not pouring taxpayer money into a new building, though they have offered $90 million in infrastructure improvements to the area.
Contrary to previous reports, Lott apparently is not part of the group that made a $167 million bid for the Coliseum site recently, which the city rejected.
For Lott, who played for both the Raiders and the 49ers, the deal is personal after watching one of his former teams move to Santa Clara.
“People in San Francisco miss Candlestick [Park] and having the 49ers,” Lott said. “It’s affected a lot of people, and that’s before you even bring the economics into it.
“And look at the good a new stadium can do. The [baseball] Giants’ new ballpark created a demographic change to that area that was for the better. And that could happen to Oakland and the area around the stadium. . . . Oakland losing the Raiders again would be very, very, very tough. You lose all the economic impact that comes with it, and it would impact the whole community, even kids growing up who lose the chance to go watch a game.”
Tourism officials in Nevada have already recommended $750 million in public money be used toward a stadium for the Raiders in Las Vegas, though that would obviously have to be approved by the state legislature.