Houston (CBS HOUSTON) – The Oakland RAAAIDERRZZ. The Silver and Black. One of the NFL’s greatest soap operas and most crazed fan bases. An organization with three Super Bowl titles yet are on its way to a soon to be 12-year playoff draught. Texans punter Shane Lechler had a front row seat for 13 years.
When the Raiders play at Reliant Stadium Sunday, Lechler admits the game will feel different.
“I had some good times there, made some good friendships but it was time to move on,” Lechler said after Monday’s practice. “The Raiders are a very historic organization and a fun place to play, but I am glad to be home.”
The Raiders organization is just different than the others. What made it so? Lechler doesn’t hesitate to answer.
“What was different was Al Davis,” he admitted. “He was a unique owner, the maverick of all owners. If the league told him no, he fought it and if the league wanted him to do something, he wanted to do something else.
The last time the Texans and Raiders squared off, was October 9, 2011, a day after Davis passed. The Raiders claimed an emotional 25-20 win at Reliant Stadium. The Raiders were outgained by the Texans 473 yards to 278 and gained just 11 first downs. Lechler held for four Sebastian Janikowski field goals and the Raiders executed a fake punt to contribute to the victory.
“The big breaks went our way,” Lechler remembered.
During Lechler’s 13 seasons in Oakland, it was also Davis allowed him to spend the off-season back in Texas. The Lechler children spent half the school year in California and the other half in Texas. “My kids get to go to the same school year round.”
The East Bernard, Texas native cites the “Tuck Rule” game and Rich Gannon becoming the NFL MVP at the age of 37 (2002) as good and bad memories from his time in Oakland. He also followed in the footsteps of someone considered the best ever at his position. Who is the best Oakland Raiders punter of all time?
“Out of respect I will say Ray Guy,” Lechler stated. Is he a Hall of Famer? “No doubt about it. Anyone who says the position punter, the first name you think of is Ray Guy. He calls me every year before the start of the season to wish me well.”
This was just the first time in 14 years that Guy wished Lechler well when he wasn’t donning the silver and black uniform of the Raiders.
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