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UK Practice Recap - September 24


Photo by Tony Gonzales

The Oakland Raiders took the pitch Wednesday morning for their first practice in the United Kingdom. After a long night of travel Sunday night and Monday, the team was back to their "normal" home schedule.

Wednesday's practice had the players in pads, getting back to work in preparation for the Miami Dolphins at Wembley Stadium in London Sunday evening.

"I thought practice was pretty good. Obviously we got here Monday morning and the guys had a little bit of time on Monday and Tuesday to catch up on a little bit of rest," said Head Coach Dennis Allen. "Now we'll get started with a normal game week preparation. I think the further we go into the week, the more acclimated the guys will get to the time change and hopefully that won't be any sort of factor come Sunday."

The jet lag and time change definitely took some getting used to (for staff as well), but the adjustment has started to come a bit easier. "I texted my wife this morning and she was still on Tuesday. I was texting her goodnight and she said good morning. It was weird," said QB Derek Carr. "At the same time, the first day I got here, I tried to fight sleep as long as I could. I think I slept for like 11 hours that first day because I was trying to get caught up to this time zone. Obviously, still feeling it a little bit today. As the days have gone, it's gotten progressively better. The faster I can get into the right time zone, which is here, the better it will feel. I'm glad we came out as early as we did because it definitely makes a difference." 

For many of the Raiders, including rookie LB Khalil Mack, this is their first trip to England. "It's great. It's different. I'm glad to be here and it's a different experience for me," said Mack. "I'm glad to be blessed to have this opportunity."'


Menelik Watson speaks with the media after practice. Photo by Tony Gonzales

Born and raised in Manchester, England, T Menelik Watson is enjoying sharing his country with his teammates as well as having the opportunity to visit his home and play American football in front of his family and friends. "We have a great opportunity to go out there and get a win against a good football team," said Watson. "So, it's surreal, and my teammates are excited. Hearing them talk and of them trying to do their English accents is fun. It's a moment I'll remember forever."

The former basketball star never imagined he'd play in Wembley Stadium. "As a kid, we all had dreams to play in the Premier League and stuff. Playing in the FA Cup in Wembley was always something you dreamed of as a kid," said Watson. "American football-wise, no. Not even after I got drafted. I watched the Steelers out here last year vs. Minnesota and then I didn't really think until the schedule came out. It's like a dream really."

The team will have two more days of practice before making their way to London. Stay tuned for full coverage.

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