Hall of Fame running back Marcus Allen maintains a friendship with his roommate in Canton, Eric Dickerson.
But the former L.A. Raiders star has not gotten the chance to discuss a recent NFL shakeup with Dickerson, who spent some of his best years as a member of the L.A. Rams. Dickerson was thrilled about the proposition of the team he played for coming "home" to California.
What about Allen, the first player drafted in L.A. Raiders history; a major part of a cultural movement in the city that grew alongside the franchise? Would he miss the chance of seeing the L.A. Raiders again?
"I played for the L.A. Raiders," Allen told Around The NFL on Friday, just before he was set to tee off at the inaugural Diamond Resorts Invitational benefiting Florida Hospital for Children. "I was the first draft choice of the L.A. Raiders. Now, Oakland is an amazing town and I've always said this. If they don't stay in Oakland, L.A. should be the place because there is so much history there. So, I mean, the fans in Oakland are incredible and yeah, you hate to see any city lose a team. I feel for the people in St. Louis much like I felt for the people of L.A. and Orange County when the Rams left. And you know, when the Raiders ended up leaving as well after establishing such a dynamic following."
The Raiders were next in line behind the Chargers in the race for a second slot in the new Inglewood Stadium project. The Chargers are currently attempting to work out a stadium sharing agreement with the Rams.
Originally, Raiders owner Mark Davis paired with Chargers ownership on a Carson, California stadium project that was recommended by the NFL's relocation committee before quickly losing momentum among owners.
Allen, who visited many of the ill children benefited by the Florida Hospital during the lead up to this week's event, which was also attended by the likes of Dickerson, Justin Verlander, Brian McCann, Terry Francona, Jerry Rice and many others, said that he still follows the Raiders, Chiefs and the NFL quite vividly. He has a deep appreciation for both of the franchises he played for, but knows that the NFL is better when the Raiders are good. He hopes that, even if they aren't in L.A., they can give the league what it wants.
"To me, and as long as I've been around and playing football, the Raiders have always been a part of the fabric of the National Football League," Allen said. "And the league is better when the Raiders are a part of the conversation. We were great while we were there, and there was a period where we weren't so great, but I think the league is better when the Raiders are one of the upper-echelon teams."