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Gruden, players revel in having fans inside Allegiant Stadium for first time


For the first time, Raiders chants were heard around Allegiant Stadium, as an estimated nearly 20,000 fans were welcomed to the team's new home for a Sunday afternoon Training Camp practice.

"Raider Nation and Raiders fans are special. To have them in Allegiant Stadium for the first time was very, very, very good. Awesome," Head Coach Jon Gruden said after practice.

It was a welcome sight for Gruden and his players to look up and see a crowd of Silver and Black after the COVID-19 pandemic kept NFL stadiums across the country empty last season. It was an especially welcome sight after playing their inaugural season in Vegas in a quiet venue.

And while it wasn't a full house yet, it was also the team's first taste of how loud their stadium can get.

"For us as players, I think having the fans around again just creates that atmosphere that we all crave so much," Marcus Mariota said. "It was quite enjoyable and I can't wait to see this thing sold out and packed."

Multiple players stayed on the field after practice to wave at fans and throw some Raiders swag their way as a thank you for their support.

Now that Raider Nation is in the building, the team is only more hyped for Week 1's Monday Night Football game against the Baltimore Ravens to get here — especially wide receiver Willie Snead IV.

"The fans were awesome today. ... I can only imagine what it's going to look like this season. It's an exciting venue to be in."

Snead spent the last three years with the Ravens, and the storybook-like moment of his first game as a Raider being against his former team on the national stage isn't lost on the wide receiver.

"It's like, could you set the stage any better? I'm excited," he said.

"Just walking around the field, it's the energy, it's the vibe, it's the intensity," Snead added. "It's like, 'Man, we missed football.' ... As a player, when the fans are into it, then it just kicks off to another level. I'm really excited to play in front of these fans and give them wins."

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