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Who Will Be the Oakland Raiders' Most Improved Player in 2015? A successful season for the Oakland Raiders must be spearheaded by a blend of rookies, sophomores and transitional players. According to ESPN reporter Bill Williamson , the Raiders have signed a league-high 10 players via free agency. Furthermore, Oakland still has some vital roster spots to fill headed into the draft, specifically at wide receiver, defensive end and guard. As for the players ...

Andy Reid talks up Raiders, Derek Carr Andy Reid saw the Oakland Raiders at their best in 2014. Even though Reid’s Kansas City Chiefs easily dispatched Oakland in the two teams' final meeting of 2014, Reid is clearly moving forward in his thinking that the Raiders will be more like the team the Chiefs ran into on a rainy Oakland night in November. The Raiders played inspired, determined football, beating the Chiefs in front of a ...

Alameda County joining Oakland officials on stadium talks, but Raiders still silent The Alameda County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to enter into talks with the city and its private development partner on Coliseum City -- a proposal to redevelop about 200 acres in East Oakland and build a new football stadium for the Oakland Raiders. The agreement doesn't require that the Raiders commit to the project.

C.J. Wilson inks 2-year extension with Oakland Raiders Former ECU Pirate C.J. Wilson signed a two-year contract extension with the Oakland Raiders Wednesday night in Greenville, N.C.

2015 draft picks: Oakland Raiders The Oakland Raiders have seven selections in the 2015 NFL draft, which will be held April 30 to May 2 in Chicago. Here’s a breakdown of the Raiders' selections: First round: 4th overall selection Second round: 35th overall selection Third round: 68th overall selection Fourth round: 102nd overall selection Fifth round: 140th overall selection Sixth round: 178th overall selection Seventh round ...

Derek Carr Flashed Enough Potential to Lead the Raiders in 2015 The Oakland Raiders may have a franchise quarterback in Derek Carr, but it’s too early to anoint him after an up-and-down rookie season. It’s also far too early to give up on Carr, as the Raiders did a poor job surrounding him with talent. Carr flashed enough potential to lead the Raiders in 2015, but anything beyond that will depend on his performance. That’s not only fair, but it acknowledges ...

Levi's Stadium still open to share, undergoing fan improvements PHOENIX -- While the Oakland Raiders continue their quest for a permanent home, be it in Oakland, Carson, or Parts Unknown, the door for them to jump into a 1-year-old stadium 34.3 miles down I-880 remains cracked open. The Raiders, sharing what is undoubtedly the 49ers’ yard at red-clad Levi’s Stadium, may be beyond a last resort for the Raiders, but Niners CEO Jed York said Tuesday at the NFL ...

Raiders News 2015: Draft Options For Oakland's First Four Picks Starting relatively fresh under new head coach Jack Del Rio, the Oakland Raiders made several big splashes in free agency this month. They stole center Rodney Hudson away from the AFC West-rival Kansas City Chiefs for $44.5 million over five years, spruced up a rushing defense that ranked No.

2015 NFL mock draft: Leonard Williams to Oakland Raiders at No. 4 The Raiders already have key pieces in place, including pass rusher Khalil Mack. Could another stud prospect slide into their laps in 2015? In an effort to ascend beyond the land of less-than-four-wins-per-season (they have a combined 11 regular season wins since the start of the 2012 regular season), the Oakland Raiders made yet another shake-up this offseason, bringing in veteran coach Jack ...

Oakland Raiders happy with free-agency upgrades The Oakland Raiders signed nine players in a free-agent class highlighted by center Rodney Hudson, though fans seemingly had hoped for a splashier name such as Ndamukong Suh or DeMarco Murray

Lester Hayes
 Lester Hayes

A former teammate named Fred Biletnikoff used stick-um on his hands and body, but it was Lester Hayes who took it to another level and it forced the NFL to ban its use. Hayes played ten seasons with the Oakland and then the Los Angeles Raiders. He won the admiration of friend and foe alike for his ability to cover any type of receiver man for man. Whether it was Charlie Joiner, John Jefferson or some other great player, Hayes always managed to keep up with the best of them. In 2001 he was a finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame but just missed it by a few votes.

Lesters greatest season came in 1980 when he intercepted 18 passes, including five in the postseason, in leading Oakland to a Super Bowl title. He returned two of those 18 interceptions for touchdowns and in the playoffs, Lester was the most dominate cornerback in playoff history. Against the Oilers, Hayes intercepted former teammate Ken Stabler two times, returning the picks for a total of 26 yards and scoring one touchdown. One week later, he intercepted Cleveland quarterback Brian Sipe 2 times. Finally in the AFC Championship game against the Chargers, Hayes intercepted Fouts one time. In Super Bowl XV, Hayes didn't intercept a pass but he limited his man to just two receptions in the Raiders 27-10 victory.

On January 22, 1984 the Los Angeles Raiders played in Super Bowl XVIII against the Redskins. Hayes was once again flawless throughout the Raiders playoff run. He intercepted one pass against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the AFC Divisional playoffs and he intercepted another pass in the AFC Championship game against Seattle. In Super Bowl XVIII Hayes limited his man to just one reception. Hayes slipped on the play and this allowed for a completed pass. Lester almost shut out his receiver for the entire game!!!

Hayes was commonly referred to as "the Molester" and "the Judge." He was known for his "bump and run" coverage style, and for using Stickum™ before it was banned in a rule bearing his name. In college, he became an All-American safety at Texas A&M. Hayes was converted to cornerback after being drafted by the Raiders in 1977. Hayes was a member of two Raiders championship teams (1980, 1983), and was a five time Pro Bowler (1980-1984). He is eligible for enshrinement in the Professional Football Hall of Fame, but as yet has not been selected.

Hayes was a lifelong stutterer until well into his professional career. He tended to stay quiet, rather than draw attention to his condition. For this reason, he was often looked upon as not very smart, but after successful treatment, people "couldn't shut him up," according to Raiders coach John Madden, and it was revealed that Hayes was an articulate, intelligent man. At autograph signings, he would maintain a constant flow of chatter, entertaining his fans with his wit and style.

Hayes intercepted 39 passes during the regular season and 47 overall. He retired from football after the 198 season citing what he termed a "fit of rage" toward everyone within the Raiders organization after recording only 14 interceptions in his final six seasons.

Lester Hayes currently lives with his wife in Modesto, California.

Interview With Lester Hayes

Q: What were your favorite games while playing for the Raiders?

Lester Hayes: In the days of old when Charlie Sumner became our defensive coordinator in 1979, my life changed. The defensive tactics changed, allowing my confidence level to increase to the tenth power. The most important factor in the National Football League on the football battlefield is confidence and the need to trust your leader. The trust level was intensified upon the arrival of Coach Sumner. When a player trusts and loves his leader 110% from a defensive standpoint, they will do anything – if we had to, we would walk through a round of pitbulls wearing pork chop underwear. That is love. And we believed that we would not be bitten.

Q: Who were some of your favorite teammates?

Lester Hayes: Speaking from a bump and run mentality, some of my best friends were my defensive front seven, my sack men. Playing bump and run cornerback, to maintain a level of consistent confidence, the defensive seven had to apply pressure especially on passing downs. Coach Sumner would never rush just four players on passing downs. He would always blitz seven or eight or even nine players. Our focus was to bend the opponents’ concentration. And we were very successful at that defensive battlefield, football tactic.

Q: Can you describe your experience in the 1983 Super Bowl?

Lester Hayes: During the Super Bowl XVIII season, the three most important players on the left side of the defensive formation were Howie Long, Ted Hendricks, and Mike Davis. When Mike Davis became a starter in Super Bowl XV, he did such a stupendous job enabling me to be free for bump and run pass coverage. Playing for the “old school” Oakland Raiders, we played like a team of gladiators. We showed men no mercy – we took their will to fight. And we did this by our leaders, Coach Sumner and the defensive staff.

I can remember going into the 1977 NFL draft. I told teams not to draft me, with the exception for the Dallas Cowboys. Dallas was the only team that I showed up on time for scouts. The Houston Oilers was my second team. This was because I was a Texan, and I was programmed to favor these 2 teams. There was a fictitious rumor that said “Lester Hayes may have difficulty playing in the NFL.” And this is why I was the 14th safety drafted in 1977. But I am thankful to be a Raider. And I am thankful to Mr. Davis, Charlie Sumner, and my defensive staff.

Q: What is going on in your life today?

Lester Hayes: In 1994 I was living in a suburb of Los Angeles. There was a 6.9 earthquake centered in Northridge, and there was extensive damage done to my home. I needed six months of repairs done. So I had a choice to spend that six months time period with my friends in Vegas or stay in Modesto, CA. The hand of God led me to Modesto, and I began dating the first Christian lady of my life. And she introduced me to God. My destiny was then to learn the complete destiny of forgiveness.


 

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