Over 30 years ago, the Raiders faced an issue involving star running back Marcus Allen, who eventually left the team due to conflicts with then-owner Al Davis. Today, a similar situation might be developing with Raiders wide receiver Davante Adams and owner Mark Davis.
Adams’ circumstances bear an eerie resemblance to Allen’s, as both were Hall of Fame-caliber players who found themselves in a puzzling rift with the Raiders’ owner for reasons never disclosed. It’s been speculated that Davis felt threatened by their rising stardom, fearing they were overshadowing the franchise. In response, Davis benched Allen during some of his prime years. To continue playing, Allen even volunteered to switch to fullback, where he blocked for Bo Jackson for a few seasons.
The recent Raiders’ victory over the Packers had echoes of Allen’s experience. Adams was largely invisible throughout the game but came alive with three crucial catches during the Raiders’ game-winning drive. Decades ago, in a crucial moment against the Cardinals, offensive coordinator Terry Robiskie defied Davis’s objections and inserted Allen into the game, leading to a game-winning score. Although the Raiders won, Davis was displeased with Allen’s inclusion.
A year later, Allen delivered an outstanding performance, leading the Raiders to a playoff win against the Bengals. However, his entry into the game only followed Bo Jackson’s career-ending injury. Subsequently, Allen returned to the bench for the next two years as Davis recruited former stars Roger Craig and Eric Dickerson to replace Jackson in the starting lineup.
After the Packers game, Adams diplomatically attributed his limited involvement to a recent shoulder injury, accepting the ups and downs of the game. However, his tone changed considerably following the game against the Patriots when he was targeted just five times.
Raiders coach Josh McDaniels, when questioned about Adams’ comments, praised his star receiver but refrained from guaranteeing increased involvement, raising concerns about their relationship. Adams’ dip in offensive participation began after his comments on October 9, expressing disappointment with his situation in Las Vegas compared to his expectations when he joined in 2022.
Davis likely disapproved of Adams’ remarks, raising the question of whether Davis instructed McDaniels to limit Adams’ role. While it’s a significant leap, considering Adams’ salary and the team’s need to win, previous Raiders’ history and Adams’ reduced role post-public comments warrant this inquiry.
Only time will reveal whether Adams is genuinely sidelined in the offense. If his limited involvement persists, it’s probable that the perennial All-Pro will continue to voice his concerns publicly. In such a scenario, a trade, similar to Allen’s eventual departure, might become a real possibility.