Tyrone Wheatley Jr.'s family ties give suiting up in the Silver and Black even more meaning

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The year was 2002 in Alameda, California, and Tyrone Wheatley Jr. was five years old.

Wheatley Jr. and his younger brother, Terius, were rambunctiously running around the Raiders' facility. Their father, Tyrone Wheatley, was a running back for the Oakland Raiders at the time, having complied 26 total touchdowns in the Silver and Black up to that point.

While Wheatley's two children were playing around, he stressed to them to be careful and not get into any trouble.

But kids will be kids.

"We were in the weight room and my little brother got on the treadmill," Wheatley Jr. recalled. "I told him to get off and he fell and scraped his face. [Athletic trainer Scott] Touchet, who's still here helping us now, ended up patching him up and helping him out.

Wheatley Jr. laughs now thinking about that day at work with his father, but vividly remembers the running back not being happy at all.

"My dad was pretty mad at us that day," he said. "That was the one thing he said to us. He said, 'Stay off the treadmill' and we went right to the treadmill."

The eldest son of the former Raiders' running back remembers a lot about his father's run in Oakland. He fondly remembers the sights and sounds of the Oakland Coliseum, including the Black Hole. And of course, he remembers his father's Super Bowl run in Oakland – that same 2002 season.

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"I got to go to the Super Bowl as a little kid. Granted we loss, but it was still a cool experience," said Wheatley Jr. "And growing up with a lot of kids of the other players, that was the coolest part for me."

Wheatley Jr. was a tight end all of his career leading up to going pro. He made the transition from tight end to offensive tackle shortly after graduating from Stony Brook, noting that a combination of injuries sustained while playing tight end diminished his route running abilities.

His father and several of his coaches helped him with making the decision, telling him that switching to offensive or defensive line would be ideal to have a realistic chance to play professionally. The transformation including him gaining roughly 60 pounds to adequately make the jump.

"It definitely was a transition. The biggest thing for me has been learning how to pass set in pass protection. When I played tight end I did a lot of run blocking, so that part was pretty easy it's similar. It's not exactly the same, but it's similar.

After a year of training and playing in the American Football League, he signed with the Chicago Bears and was on their practice squad last season. This offseason, he followed assistant general manager Champ Kelly to the desert and signed with his childhood team.

If Wheatley Jr. earns a spot on the 53-man roster, he and his father would find themselves as rivals, as the elder is currently the running backs coach for the Denver Broncos. However, the Raiders organization will always be a special place for the Wheatley family.

"The first day I got here, I came for rookie minicamp, and it was pretty emotional. I had to remember it was a business trip, it was a tryout. Just walking around seeing the Silver and Black, it was wild. My whole life, I grew up with signed Jerry Rice jerseys, Tim Brown jerseys, Randy Jordan, I grew up with his kids. I always grew up around the Silver and Black and it will always be a part of our family.

"I got the opportunity to try and be a Raider. Now, I'm on the team fighting to make the team, which is pretty cool."

View the best photos from Raiders 2022 Training Camp practice before their upcoming preseason home game against the Minnesota Vikings.

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