Once a Raider, Always a Raider is more than a "catchy slogan" for former tight end Raymond Chester. The bond he's formed with his teammates and the other men that have previously donned the Silver and Black could be described as unbreakable.
"I think the Raiders have always respected talent, loyalty, reliability and accountability," he said. "The Raider family really is a brotherhood. We are family."
Chester will be one of more than 300 Raiders alumni in attendance for the preseason game this Friday against the New England Patriots – the largest alumni gathering in team history – with a special halftime ceremony celebrating their time in the Silver and Black.
"Words can't possibly describe how excited we are for this year's four day Alumni Reunion," said Shannon Jordan, vice president of alumni relations. "We have representation from every season starting with the 1960's inaugural team through the 2021 season. This is our way of thanking them for all of their contributions to the Raiders organization and remind them 'Once a Raider, Always a Raider.'"
For one of the newest additions to the alumni association, Richie Incognito, it will be his first-ever alumni event. The former Pro Bowl guard retired as a Raider this offseason.
"I think it will be a great time for us to get together and celebrate each other," said Incognito. "The line 'Once a Raider, Always A Raider' really rings true, especially when you get to be around some of those old guys. They set great examples with their play on the field and off the field. So to have those guys around, the Raiders legends, it will be a great atmosphere."
"It's good for the guys on the team to have those guys around to give them a model of what it looks like," he continued. "I've been on a few teams but I've never seen an alumni association like the Raiders and it's good seeing the old guys get involved. Considering it's the largest alumni gathering for the Raiders, I'm really looking forward to it."
Several Raiders legends who are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame will make an appearance this weekend as well. Quite none of them will have the star power and legacy of 1985 MVP Marcus Allen. The Super Bowl MVP running back is looking forward to getting back with his teammates and reminiscing on their glory days.
He said he doesn't take the time spent with fellow alumni for granted and wants to soak in every moment this weekend.
"There's nothing like teammates. Football is special because it allows you to forge the quest to be great," said Allen. "It's awesome to see guys that you fought with and struggled with at times. We forged something special, we really did. And I think sports is unique in that regard because there's a goal and whoever we are, no matter where we came from, we come together to reach that goal with a lot of effort and a lot of time.
"Obviously, we're not as young as we used to be as we serve the back nine of life. We're not interested in our own stories, we're interested in our teammates because we care about each other. We always have and we always will."