Due to a modified schedule for the week of Christmas, the Oakland Raiders were back on the field Tuesday, a day that is typically the players' day off.
"We prepped them last week that this would happen and it's part of the week this week," said Interim Head Coach Tony Sparano. "I wanted to make sure that they understood what the schedule was. They were great about it, they understood it. I'm sure they're excited about it because they'll get to spend some time with their family on Christmas and we'll be able to get right back to work on Friday"
Two Raiders in particular will be smiling over the holiday break as DL Antonio Smith was named the inaugural recipient of the Oakland Raiders Craig Long Pride and Poise Award and FB Marcel Reece was named to his third-consecutive Pro Bowl.
Photos from the Raiders Week 17 Tuesday practice - December 23, 2014.
The Craig Long Pride and Poise award, which was named after a member of the Raiders public relations staff who passed away in 2007 at the age of 36, was presented to Smith as the player who best exemplified professionalism and collaboration with the media at large.
"This is actually my first award. I can't remember ever receiving an award like this," Smith said. "I'm really honored. I do appreciate it. This will be put on my wall of fame, probably at the top because I'm the first ever in Oakland Raiders history."
The NFL announced that Reece was one of the players named to the 2015 Pro Bowl. It is the Inglewood, Calif., native's third-consecutive selection. S Charles Woodson and rookie LB Khalil Mack were named as alternates for the all-star game.
"It just means to me, one, that dreams do come true; and two, just having the respect of my peers, the respect of the fans and the respect of my teammates," Reece said. "It means the world to me."
Reece and the rest of his teammates will be back on the practice field tomorrow before having Thursday off, and will then return on Friday to continue their on-field preparation for their season finale against the Denver Broncos.
The game will be played at Sports Authority Field at Mile High, and kickoff is scheduled for 1:25 p.m. PT.