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Antonio Pierce pens open letter to Raider Nation

Antonio Pierce is still is in astonishment of the role he's found himself in.

As a kid from Compton, California, the Raiders organization influenced Pierce's mentality as a football player. He put pen to paper in The Players' Tribune to properly address Raider Nation and give his Silver and Black origin story.

The first time he could remember laying his eyes on the Silver and Black was on his television set at five years old, watching Marcus Allen reverse field on Washington as they secured their third Super Bowl. Another Raiders running back, Bo Jackson, hooked Pierce as a fan of the team as Jackson ran over the Seattle Seahawks to the tune of 221 yards inside Seattle Kingdome.

Years after watching his gridiron heroes in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, he became the interim head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders. His first game on the job was against the team he won a Super Bowl with as a player – the New York Giants.

"[B]efore the game started, pregame, I walk out to midfield and shake the hand of Mr. Mara, their owner," wrote Pierce. "And I'm actually shaking that man's hand as the head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders. It was surreal."

That was the first of five games Pierce won as interim head coach, which included a sweep over the AFC West under his watch. On January 19, the interim tag was removed with assurance he was the right man to lead his childhood team.

In his open letter to Raider Nation, Pierce was clear about the "identity" and "DNA" he wants to bring to the locker room and the facility. His vision of this team is one willing to do anything it takes to get another Super Bowl and doing it with unique swag.

"[L]et me just say this once and for all: We are the Raiders, damnit. We don't need to be liked. But we will be respected."

The Las Vegas Raiders spent the morning at Marvin M. Sedway Middle School to surprise teacher Demeasa Heard with tickets to Super Bowl LVIII.

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