Raiders in St. Louis? Not if Mark Davis has his way


SAN FRANCISCO -- There are no shortage of permutations for how the NFL's game of relocation-fueled musical chairs could play out.

Among the many theories and rumors floating in the ether, the idea of the Oakland Raiders turning into the St. Louis Raiders has been bandied about. So, too, has the idea that the St. Louis Rams could stay in their current city but with owner Stan Kroenke taking over the controlling interest of the Raiders while selling the Rams to an ownership group committed to building the proposed stadium on the north riverfront.

Whether those rumors are worth believing is up to the person doing the listening, but if current Raiders owner Mark Davis has his way, neither scenario will become a reality.

Speaking to reporters here Tuesday, Davis made it clear that he has no intention of moving his team to St. Louis if the music stops and it doesn't have a stadium.

"That’s just not where the Raiders belong," Davis said. "It’s not going to be St. Louis."

So, what about a scenario in which Davis would sell his team to Kroenke, who would then move the Raiders to Los Angeles, thus allowing the Rams to stay put in St. Louis?

Or, more to the point, what about any scenario in which Davis would sell the controlling stake of the Raiders?

"Is there a scenario?" Davis said. "Never. No."

As owners go, it's fair to say that Davis has a much deeper tie to his team than others might. While some owners view their teams as a means of lining their pockets further, Davis has an emotional, family-oriented tie to the Raiders that he plans to keep.

That's why Davis, who inherited the team from his father Al, said he intends to own the Raiders for the rest of his life.

"It means a lot to me to protect his legacy and bring this organization back to greatness," Davis said.

As it stands, Davis maintains that his top priority is to get a new stadium built in Oakland. He's supposed to receive a proposal from the city soon, and recently dined with the head of the city council for more than three hours to get a handle on what might be forthcoming.

Failing that, Davis has joined with the San Diego Chargers on a project in Carson, California. That project is in direct competition with Kroenke's Inglewood project though Davis prefers not to think of it as such.

So, let's throw one more scenario at Davis. What if something happens to the Carson plan and teams are left scrambling to potentially become a resident in the Inglewood project along with Kroenke?

"I don’t see that right now," Davis said. "We’re partners with the Chargers right now and we want to get something done in Oakland."

That very well might be the case, but just like anything involving relocation and all of these moving parts, nothing is set in stone. Davis simply doesn't have the financial weight of a major player like Kroenke and there are things that could happen that might put him in a position where he has no choice but to sell or consider a move to St. Louis.

In the meantime, don't expect the rumor mill to stop churning when it comes to the endgame for all parties.