OXNARD -- It was a training camp practice for the Raiders unlike any in recent memory.

A joint session with the Dallas Cowboys on Tuesday afternoon at their circuslike complex at the River Ridge Marriott brought all the intensity coach Dennis Allen had hoped for -- and then some.

Besides 8,326 fans, the vast majority of which were adorned in silver and black, Magic Johnson and Tommy Lasorda showed up.

What they witnessed was something considerably more electric than the usual drab mid-August practice session.

There was crisp hitting, probably a little more than Allen and Cowboys coach Jason Garrett had in mind. There were two scuffles, which delighted the crowd as much as the on-field action.

When Dallas cornerback Morris Claiborne put a lick on Raiders tight end Mychal Rivera that was excessive by any training camp standard, the teams engaged in a spirited skirmish.

Fullback Marcel Reece was first on the scene, flying in to mix it up.

"I'm proud of every single one of my guys," Reece said. "That's how you've got to do it. And it's not about fighting. It's about having each other's backs. It's about us taking care of each other, playing the game the right way."

Claiborne said he hit Rivera only because Rivera had first lowered his shoulder.

"When he did that, I thought it was my cue to go in for the tackle," Claiborne said.


Advertisement

While Allen said the plan was for no tackling to the ground, both teams clearly went beyond that standard. It wasn't the no-holds-barred type of football the Raiders will play Friday night in their home opener against the Detroit Lions, but it was close.

"That was a great atmosphere," Allen said. "We've got a lot of support, and not only in the Oakland area. We have it in Southern California and across the nation. I think they all got a good show."

Minus the two scuffles, Allen liked what he saw, with the contact being the byproduct of playing someone from another team.

"That happens in a competitive environment, but I thought it was good work," Allen said.

With overwhelming fan support, Reece thought it was a good lesson for young players who had practiced only in Napa and played in a 10-6 preseason loss in Minnesota.

"It's a reality check for all the new guys who thought they knew what the Raider nation was all about. They'd heard all the stories and put on their jerseys for one preseason game. They have no idea what it is, and they come to another team's training camp and out-show their fans."

Dallas quarterback Tony Romo acknowledged the geographical advantage that gave the Raiders a home field of sorts.

"We're in California. If they didn't have any fans out there, it would probably not be a good sign for them," Romo said. "It's great for the Raiders having that, and it was great for us having the atmosphere. It was pretty unique and something that everybody should get a chance to have in camp."

Raiders owner Mark Davis said, "I wasn't surprised there were that many (fans), but I was surprised it was 3 to 1 Raiders fans to Cowboys fans."

  • Raiders tight end Nick Kasa was taken from the field on a cart with an apparent knee injury and could miss considerable time.

  • The Raiders offense generally had its way with the Dallas defense, which is expected to be one of the NFL's worst. Quarterback Matt Schaub had a solid session and afterward said he enjoyed the fan support.

  • One fan swung a souvenir helmet over the fence at Dallas defensive back B.W. Webb during the Claiborne-Rivera scuffle. Webb called it a "dangerous situation" and mistakenly thought a fan had gone over the fence after him.

    "I hear they're crazy," Webb said. "You always hear about the Raider fans, the Black Hole. They're loud, they're crazy. You've just got to block them out. Or try to."

  • In the other team session scuffle, Dallas fullback J.C. Copeland lost his helmet in an exchange with Raiders reserve linebacker Justin Cole.

  • Dallas owner Jerry Jones was impressed by the ability of Raiders guard Austin Howard to use his fists in a dust-up during drills with defensive tackle Davon Coleman.

    "Boy, that No. 77 was putting some hooks in there," Jones said. "But seriously, that passion, that's what we hoped we would be getting out of putting these teams together."