Erik Harris' pregame tradition more or less stays the same regardless of date, location or opponent.
Before the heavy lifting of his pregame routine gets underway, the fourth-year safety finds a pocket of Raiders' fans – that's pretty easy at home – and throws the football around with them, electing to spend a few minutes with the people before the rigors of his day job get underway.
"It's kind of my routine," Harris explained following the Raiders' 20-16 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars. "I go out there, and just the experience of everything. People ask me to sign autographs, and it's not me being a jerk or anything like that, it's just I'd rather give somebody an experience than just a little autograph. I think it's more meaningful, and I made sure in my routine, I left a little more time so I could get a couple of extra catches in with people."
And even after Gardner Minshew ruined the Raiders' farewell party, beating the Silver and Black with just 31 seconds left in the fourth quarter, that appreciation continued, as Harris took a postgame lap of the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, once again giving the fans back just a fraction of the love they've given to him and his teammates over the years.
"Just to show my appreciation to everybody that supports us," Harris said when asked about his lap following the game. "They're a big reason why we get paid. It's an entertainment business and I understand that, and I just understand the heart people put into this team, the Silver and Black. It means a lot and it goes way back."
He continued, "It's heartbreaking because walking around that stadium, you're seeing people in tears and stuff, it's unfortunate that we couldn't come out and get the win for them and send them out the right way."
Ultimately, on what was likely the final afternoon of football played at the OACC, the over 52,000 people in attendance wanted a win, but unfortunately, the Raiders were unable to deliver that Week 15.
And while all losses hurt, Sunday's four-point defeat at the hands of the Jaguars hurt just a little bit more – not only did it almost officially eliminate the Raiders from postseason play, it also served as an unsavory final chapter to what has been a remarkable portion of the franchise's history.
"It does hurt," Harris explained. "Every loss hurts. We play to win, but knowing that this was the last game in the history of this stadium, and there will never be another Oakland Raiders after us, plenty of greats before us, but no young guys will be an Oakland Raider after us, that means a lot to me, and I feel a lot of pride."
Sunday's loss to the Jaguars will sting for some time, but as much as it hurts now, Head Coach Jon Gruden and his team still have two games left on the docket, and they'll have to regroup in a hurry to finish 2019 on a positive that note.
The implications to the final stretch of the season aside, when asked about today's result, Gruden wanted to focus on the totality of the team's time in Oakland, using his postgame press conference as a time to say thank you.
"It's not really the result today, it's the result of the Raiders over the years," Gruden explained. "It's the Oakland Raiders. It's the appreciation, the loyalty, that these fans, I think, have had for the Raiders, and we're going to miss them. The relationship is hopefully never going to end, but it was sad walking in here today. It's going to be sad walking out of here the last time. It's a lot to wrap your arms around, but we love our fans, we love the city of Oakland, we thank them, and we'll certainly miss them."
The Silver and Black couldn't handle business on the field Sunday afternoon, but regardless of the outcome, Harris, Gruden and the rest of the Raiders made sure to let all the fans know – both those in attendance and those who weren't – that their support was appreciated and hadn't gone unnoticed.
"Seeing tears run down people's faces as I walked around the stadium, it was touching to me," Harris said. "And if they see this, I really appreciate all the love and support from all of them."
Take a look at photos from the Raiders' Week 15 matchup against the Jacksonville Jaguars at the Coliseum.