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Luke Steckel relishes coaching Raiders tight end room

Luke Steckel couldn't run away from coaching even though he tried. It's just engrained in him.

Following a playing career at Princeton, the former linebacker headed to Hollywood and worked as a production assistant for several major motion pictures. Yet he just couldn't turn his attention away from his first love – football.

Steckel's been around the game since birth, as his father, Les, was an NFL coach for 25 years – including a stint as the Minnesota Vikings head coach in 1984. His uncle, Dave Steckel, was also a coach at the college ranks for over 30 years.

An opportunity with the Cleveland Browns in 2009 has parlayed into a 16-year career in the NFL for Luke Steckel as an assistant and position coach, and he now enters his first as the Raiders tight ends coach.

"I got into coaching several years after my father had finished his career, but I was lucky to get my foot in the door with him being out of the league for so long," Steckel said. "I've just been trying to carve out my own role in every building I've been in. We got a really, really special job. We're so fortunate. We're so blessed.

"I walk through these doors every day and feel like the luckiest guy in the world."

Steckel came to Las Vegas with offensive coordinator Luke Getsy, as the two worked together at the Chicago Bears last season. The former offensive line coach's high energy and positive attitude are now being directed toward the Raiders' young tight end corps, a position group he previously coached at the Tennessee Titans (2021-22).

"I've been real fortunate in my career to work in every position room on offense," Steckel said. "The offensive line was kind of the last one to check off on the list and got an opportunity to work in that room last year and it really is a different world. It's a different perspective. ... [H]opefully can take what I learned last year and apply that to some of the stuff we do as tight ends in the run game, knowing how we help out in protection and where the O-line might have issues or where they need our help."

At his disposal, he has 2023 second-round pick Michael Mayer and the Raiders' latest first-round selection Brock Bowers, who won two national championships and a pair of John Mackey Awards at Georgia.

While praising the skill set of both young weapons, he recognizes that the competition between the two will bring the best out of each other, especially in Getsy's offensive scheme.

"I am so fortunate to have the guys that we have in our room because they work hard, they play hard," Steckel said. "They're extremely intelligent, They're very talented. Those two guys, are they competing every day with each other? Absolutely. That's the expectation we have for them, but you wouldn't know that by watching how they interact. They're extremely encouraging of each other. ... To watch the interaction between those two specifically, and really the entire room, has been really encouraging."

Stepping into his new role with the Raiders, Steckel can draw on not only the advice of the talented coaching staff surrounding him as he settles in but also the lessons from his father who walked the same path.

"[W]e both have the game of football to thank for a roof over our heads our entire lives. Since he started his career, the two messages he always passed along is, number one, there's no substitute for hard work. There's no cutting corners. There's no easy way. If there was, we'd all take it, and the ones that do usually end up failing. There's no substitute for hard work."

View photos from day five of the Las Vegas Raiders' OTAs at Intermountain Health Performance Center.

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