The Oakland Raiders have entered the building.
That was the feeling when two Royal Coach buses pulled into the parking lot at the Napa Valley Marriott.
Various rookies and veterans arrived Saturday and will continue to file into town today.
Players will also undergo physicals and have administrative meetings today. The first practice will take place on Monday morning. The team will break camp on Aug. 23.
The Napa Valley Marriott has housed the Raiders for training camp every year since 1996. The 2012 season will be different from every other since it will be without late owner Al Davis, who died last October.
The Raiders have made a ton of changes that have been headlined by new owner Mark Davis (Al’s son) hiring general manager Reggie McKenzie. The organization also dismissed Hue Jackson as head coach after failing to reach the postseason for the 10th consecutive season.
“It’s probably going to be a little bit different,” starting offensive tackle Jared Veldheer said. “That’s to be expected. I suppose but we’re moving forward and moving in the right direction.”
The past few seasons, most notably in the Tom Cable era as head coach, the Raiders had walk-through practices in the initial stages. But Allen may go to padded practices much sooner.
“It’s about getting started with it and being able to get the pads on and work on things,” Veldheer said. “That’s how football is supposed to be played. That way we can get ready for the season.”
There won’t be any argument from Tony Bergstrom, an offensive lineman the Raiders drafted in the third round from the University of Utah.
“I like to just get after it,” Bergstrom said. “I figure that you learn swimming by being tossed into the water.”
Getting to Napa wound up being a lengthier task for Bergstrom and his teammates, most of whom were undrafted rookies. The trip from the Raiders headquarters in Alameda to Napa normally takes 45 minutes to an hour, but traffic made for a trip that was about an hour and a half.
“It was long,” Bergstrom said. “The traffic was bad. I didn’t expect it to take that long. I’m not used to California traffic yet.”
When asked to describe the bus ride, Bergstrom said: I think everyone got on with a nervous tension, but 20 minutes into the bus ride everyone wanted to get off the bus.”