Silver and black . . . and backA wild sellout crowd...

PLAYS AND REPLAYS

September 04, 1995

Silver and black . . . and back

A wild sellout crowd greeted the Raiders' official return to Oakland, the town they abandoned for Los Angeles.

"The Boys Are Back in Town" blared over loudspeakers, and fans wrapped in silver and black roared as the Raiders took the field for their first regular-season game at the Oakland Coliseum since leaving town in 1982.

Fans cheered as a man dressed as "Dark Raider" paraded around, dressed in a Darth Vader helmet, a black cape and a homemade silver-and-black wooden sword.

One fan painted his bald head to look like a Raiders helmet, another had the word "Raiders" shaved in his hair. Many others painted their faces silver and black.

D. Pondoc said he took the money he planned to spend on a house down payment and put it toward Raiders tickets instead. He spent$7,000 for a personal seat license and tickets on the 40-yard line.

"A man's got to have his priorities, no matter how out of whack they are," said Pondoc, who apparently also didn't have enough money to buy a full first name.

Do you miss us?

The Houston Oilers didn't find any reason to miss a former receiver and coach who were with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Ernest Givins, dumped by the Oilers in the off-season despite being the leading receiver in team history, managed only two catches for 19 yards against his old team yesterday. And Kevin Gilbride, Houston's former offensive coordinator, watched his offense flounder after first-round draft pick James Stewart, a running back, suffered a sprained shoulder on the Jaguars' first possession.

"I went through a lot of wars with those guys," Gilbride said of his ex-team. "At times, I felt like I should be on the other sideline."

Especially now that Buddy Ryan isn't over there to take a poke at him.

Annoy your friends

Today's tidbit to impress upon your pals that you have no life during football season: Kicker Chip Lohmiller became the first New Orleans Saints player ever to wear No. 2, the last number the team never had assigned.

We would have done better

Jacksonville had its home opener that should have been Baltimore's. The pop group Boyz II Men sang the national anthem after staging a concert Saturday night next door at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Miss America 1993, Leanza Cornett, a Jacksonville native, took part in the halftime show.

Sure, but could they have had Anne Tyler read from her latest novel before performing the coin flip?

Money for Deion

The Dallas Cowboys restructured and extended the contract of cornerback Kevin Smith as part of their effort to give him a new partner on the other side of the field.

Smith accepted a $4 million signing bonus as part of an $11.65 million deal that will keep him with the team through the 1999 season.

Agent Ian Greengross said Smith's 1995 pay has been reconfigured to give the Cowboys more room to operate this season under the salary cap. Team officials have been open about their intentions to free up enough money to sign cornerback Deion Sanders.

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