Antonio Pierce: ‘team bonding’ prompted Raiders to move training camp back to Cali

The big news this week for the Raiders is the agreement with the City of Costa Mesa to hold this year’s training camp there. Thus moving it away from the facility in Henderson where the team had held camp since arriving in Las Vegas four years ago.

As someone who has stood on the sideline in the heart of July and August and watched players in full pads and helmets — many of whom over 300 pounds — try to deal with the temperatures that reached well over 110 degrees any given day, the heat would seem to be a good reason to make the move. Actually, it would have been a reason never to leave their primo spot in Napa and take camp to Vegas in the first place.

And while new head coach Antonio Pierce acknowledges having a bit cooler temperatures for camp will be nice, he says the real reason is about the reason most teams used to take their training camp elsewhere.

“I don’t worry about the heat, it’s about team bonding,” Pierce said. “When I played in the National Football League, we never stayed at our facility. I was used to traveling and going away and kind of bunkered up with 90 or 85 players or whatever it was. Team bonding. Getting together, getting to know one another, get away from all the distractions. All about ball. Just ball. I told them I want us to be the tightest group of Raiders hopefully that this organization has seen and that’s what we’re going to build on and get that physical toughness that we want to build on in training camp. Does it help that it’s a little cooler? No doubt. But more importantly I think it’s just good for our team to bond, to get away, and just focus on us.”

Pierce has been all about team chemistry since he took over as head coach. And the results of that approach paid dividends last season and earned him the job full time. So, when he says he wants to leave for the sake of team bonding, you believe him.

Why Southern California? Well, as it happens both he and new general manager Tom Telesco have ties there. Pierce is an LA native. And Telesco spent the past seven years there as GM of the Chargers.

Specifically, the Chargers first held their training camp at Jack Hammett Sports Complex where the Raiders will be holding their camp. So, Telesco is quite familiar with the site.

The temperature being literally 30 degrees cooler in July/August there will certainly be much nicer as well, surely.

Story originally appeared on Raiders Wire