Marcus Allen: Raiders belong in L.A.

ByPaul Gutierrez ESPN logo
Monday, July 21, 2014

Although the Oakland Raiders' long-term plans for a home are muddy as ever -- the powers-that-be seem more interested in getting something done first for Major League Baseball's Athletics at Coliseum -- a Hall of Famer who played for the silver and black thinks he can clear the waters.

Marcus Allen, the franchise's brightest star in the Raiders' star-crossed 13-year sojourn in Southern California, says he can see his first NFL team returning to Los Angeles.

"I know people in Oakland won't like this," Allen told NBC Sports Network this past weekend in Lake Tahoe at the American Century Celebrity Golf Championship.

"I think it's a viable option. ... We can't have them back at the [Los Angeles Memorial] Coliseum; the Coliseum is now USC's home. ... But there's some locations there that I know I've talked to a few owners [about] and I know that they've liked. I can't divulge my sources, though."

The Los Angeles Times reported Sunday that the league is looking at several sites in Los Angeles for a possible stadium and might even finance a new stadium itself rather than having an owner pay for it.

Patriots owner Robert Kraft said last week that he and his fellow NFL owners want a team to be based in Los Angeles.

"I think [NFL owners] collectively [are] very concerned that we don't have at least one team in downtown L.A., and would like to do everything they can to help facilitate that happening," he told reporters, according to TV Week.

Allen never played a home game in Northern California despite being drafted by the "Oakland" Raiders in 1982, just before the team moved to L.A. and stayed through 1994.

He was the NFL's offensive rookie of the year in 1982, Super Bowl XVIII MVP the following season and the NFL's MVP in 1985. But a strange feud with the late Al Davis saw Allen take up residence in a certain silver and black doghouse until his final season with the Raiders in 1992, before he left for the Kansas City Chiefs.

Allen returned to the Raiders in 2012, lighting the Al Davis Torch in Oakland at the behest of owner Mark Davis, who has long championed the Raiders' remaining in the Bay Area as the anchor tenant for the proposed Coliseum City complex on the current Coliseum's grounds. The Raiders have also been linked to potential East Bay sites in Concord and Dublin.

But NFL commissioner Roger Goodell suggested last week that the Raiders could share the San Francisco 49ers' soon-to-open Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara in the South Bay. Davis, though, has long said he wants little to nothing to do with the 49ers' new palace, equating moving there with the New York Jets becoming tenants of the New York Giants at old Giants Stadium from 1984 through 2009.

Allen feels the same.

"That's not the Raiders," Allen said. "The Raiders don't share things. ... I don't think Al would like it, I can say that right now. He wouldn't be happy at all because to him, it's the Raiders and 31 other teams."

Indeed, the late Davis claimed he had a deal in place to build a new stadium at Hollywood Park in the early 1990s before the NFL insisted he share it with another team. Perturbed, Davis moved back to Oakland in 1995.

Meanwhile, Los Angeles, where Allen also starred in college and won the 1981 Heisman Trophy at USC, has been without an NFL team since the Raiders and Rams departed.

Allen thinks 20 years is long enough.

"I just think it's ripe right now, being the second-largest market and being the entertainment capital of the world, it's almost necessary to have a team there," Allen said.

"And I think with the corporate support and the [Raiders] brand that has already been there, that's been established, that has a huge following, I think it's be a no-brainer."

Related Video