Raiders First Round Pick CB Gareon Conley Will Not Be Charged in Rape Case

CBS SportsLine

Raiders first-round pick Gareon Conley will not be charged in connection to a rape allegation made against him in April, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports.

Michael C. O’Malley, Cuyahoga County Prosecutor, issued the following statement regarding the case:

After a thorough investigation by the Cleveland Police Department, the facts and circumstances surrounding the allegations of sexual assault against Gareon Conley were presented to a Cuyahoga County Grand Jury. The Grand Jury returned a No Bill on all possible charges.

“He is vindicated. He looks forward to contributing in the National Football League,” Conley’s attorney, Kevin Spellacy, told Rapoport on Monday.

Conley, 22, had vehemently denied the allegations. He told Cleveland police in May he had a consensual sexual encounter with the woman who accused him of rape and denied assaulting her, Spellacy told Rapoport.

Raiders to Release Running Back Taiwan Jones

BleacherReport

The Raiders have released running back Taiwan Jones, a player who has had only 44 carries in his six years with the club.

Jones was mostly known for beinga special teams player, but last season didn’t even get that much playing time on special teams.

Overall he returned 26 kicks for the Raiders in 2013 and 31 kicks in 2015. Last year, he did just eight kick returns with a lackluster 14.0 yards per attempt average.

He was selected in the fourth round of the 2011 draft. The team had him switch to cornerback for a time, but he was moved back to running back for the 2015 season.

Throwing The Best Game Day Party Possible

Football season is coming up, and we all know what that means–entertaining small and large groups of friends, watching the big games, and enjoying everything the sport has to offer. If you’re planning on throwing a big bash for the Super Bowl, playoffs, or the first game of the season, then following these tips is sure to help you throw the most unforgettable game day soiree ever!

Aside from the game itself, food and drink are the most important component to a winning game day gathering. Most folks find that the best format for food at such a party is the buffet. If the food is set out and readily available to your guests, they can come and go as they please, snacking here and there and getting a larger plate of portions should the hunger strike them. Half-time is the perfect time to bring out warmer dishes or main parts of the meal like burgers, dogs, and sub sandwiches. You can start out the first half of the game with drinks, finger foods, and snacks that are easy to grab a handful of and munch on while watching the first half of the game. Once your guests are riled and ready, bring out the main course. Then after the second half of the game begins, you can set out desserts and sweet treats to finish of the night with! Be sure to include vegetarian options for friends who eat meat-free, and healthier options for folks who may not be into chips and burgers. Edible Arrangements offers lots of healthy, fruitful options that will look and taste beautiful on your special Game Day Buffet table!

Of course the taste of the food is most important, but the way you present the food can also have a major effect on how your party is enjoyed by others! Use a chalkboard with mock plays drawn in white chalk to label your buffet area, or cut out football shapes from brown construction paper and craft tiny labels for each individual dish on your buffet table so that guests won’t have to ask what is in or on each dish. Use football-inspired phrases and terminology to add a little tongue-in-cheek quirkiness to the names of your dishes. Cover water and soda bottles with referee-style black and white patterns, or use green place mats with white markings to mock the yard lines on the field. Your guests will love this little attention to detail!

Game day is a great time to gather together with friends, family, and teammates to enjoy the excitement of your favorite sport. Throwing parties can often be daunting, but if you follow these easy steps, you’re sure to have a winning get together that your guests will remember for many seasons to come!

Raiders Agree to Terms with Second-Round Pick Safety Obi Melifonwu

The Raiders have one of their top two picks ready to go for training camp, as earlier on Wednesday the team came to a deal with second-round safety Obi Melifonwu.

Now all they have to do is get first-round cornerback Gareon Conley under contract, and they will have all their picks inked and ready to roll.

Melifonwu’s agent Sean Stellato passed along word on Wednesday that his client has agreed to terms with the Raiders on a four-year contract and the Raiders announced it a short time later. Melifonwu was the only player drafted after the first round without a contract and his signing leaves Conley and two other first-rounders — 49ers defensive lineman Solomon Thomas and Titans wide receiver Corey Davis — as the only 2017 picks without deals.

Melifonwu started 47 games at the University of Connecticut and, like Cowboys safety and fellow Huskie Byron Jones, turned in a stellar performance at the combine. He’ll join Karl Joseph and Reggie Nelson at safety in Oakland and his athleticism could lead to early playing time as a rookie.

Raiders Draft Pick CB Gareon Conley Still Under Investigation for Rape

SportsIllustrated.com

The Raiders drafted cornerback Gareon Conley in April despite a rape accusation against him, confident a police investigation would clear their first-round pick and hopeful the matter would be resolved before training camp.

Instead, an overlap between Conley’s legal issue and camp appears unavoidable, although there is still time before practices begin in earnest, Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports.

Conley remained unsigned as Raiders rookies reported to camp Monday morning. Veteran players are scheduled to report on Friday and the first full-squad practice comes Saturday at 11 a.m. in Napa, California.

“Detectives have had meetings with the prosecutor’s office,” said Sgt. Jennifer Ciaccia, a public information officer for the Cleveland Division of Police. “They would still classify it as being under investigation. No official charges have been filed. … They haven’t ruled it closed. The official statement is it still remains under investigation.”

Ciaccia declined Monday to provide a timetable for when that conclusion will come or specific detail into what has dictated the investigation’s pace thus far.

A woman accused Conley, 22, of rape in a Cleveland hotel room this April. Conley’s lawyer has publicly characterized a sexual event between the two as consensual.

The Raiders and Conley issued statements in April expressing a belief in his innocence. Both also hoped that a resolution in the matter would have arrived by now.

Conley met with police detectives on May 1. He has not met with them since, Ciaccia said.

David Carr’s Deal Allowed the Raiders to Also Pay RT Gabe Jackson

Raiders quarterback Derek Carr became the highest-paid quarterback in the NFL in late June but his deal allowed right tackle Gabe Jackson to get paid too, Jimmy Durkin of Bayareanewsgroup reports.

During Carr’s negotiations with the Raiders, he expressed an importance in structuring his deal so that the team could afford to pay players like Jackson and Khalil Mack, who will likely wait until next off-season to get his extensionl. That didn’t surprise Jackson.

“I started smiling when I first heard him saw that because he always said that to me before, that he wants to make sure everybody else is good,” Jackson said. “It goes to show you about his character and how he is as person. He’s one of the most selfless people that I know.”

Jackson said his deal is proof that rewards will come “if you live clean and live good outside of football and you come in and take care of business and you work your butt off.”

“I feel honored and blessed because all the hard work and years leading up to this, the work I put in and the sacrifices, it’s finally here,” Jackson said. “It’s not that I can relax, but I don’t have to worry about another deal. I just worry about playing football and winning a championship.”

Is Marshawn Lynch the Raiders Missing Piece in a Run at a Super Bowl?

The Raiders run game is going to have a very different look in 2017, as the team this offseason went out and grabbed retired bruiser Marshawn Lynch to come back to revamp the Oakland rush attack.

Last season Oakland was led in their run game by Latavius Murray, who left this past offseason to go to Minnesota as a free agent. He ran for 788 yards, 12 touchdowns, and put up four yards per carry.

Murray is going to be tough to replace, but the team is hopeful that Lynch, who led the league in rushing touchdowns between the 2013-14 seasons, will fill in and be just as good.

But is that realistic?

Lynch is 31 years old, and to expect him to be able to come in and be a force is asking a lot. It’s been a two full seasons since he played, and even then he only played in seven games and put up 417 yards and three touchdowns for the Seahawks.

The one thing that the Raiders do have going for them is one of, if not the best offensive lines in the NFL. With players like Donald Penn leading the charge, this unit will help open holes for anyone running the ball.

Lynch will also get help from Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington, two players who should be able assist in giving him breaks during games if need be.

The Raiders were 8th in the NFL last season in throwing the ball, and adding Lynch to their offense should give even more of a boost.

Let’s see if he’s as good as he’s been during camps, and if he indeed is the missing piece for the Raiders to win the AFC West and make a serious run at a Super Bowl in 2017.

Can The Oakland Raiders Live Up To The Hype In 2017?

After 13 agonizing years without playoff football, the Oakland Raiders went 12-4 last season and competed in the postseason for the first time since losing to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Super Bowl XXXVII. Unfortunately, Jack Del Rio’s side fell short at the first hurdle against the Houston Texans but that brief taste of the playoffs will spur Oakland on as they look to win the AFC West title in 2017.

With Derek Carr fully fit and firing on all cylinders, the Raiders are a decent outside tip to go one better this time around. Last season, Carr suffered a devastating season-ending injury in Week 16 and that put an end to Oakland’s slim Super Bowl hopes but fans should remember that he ranked as one of the best quarterbacks in the National Football League before going down.

Stats

Looking directly at the statistics, Carr threw 28 touchdown passes and just six interceptions last season – an incredible achievement. Since he was drafted, the Raiders star has an 81:31 touchdown to interception ratio. Comparatively, Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, the first overall pick in 2012, has a 132:68 ratio and Oakland fans know that Carr is an elite talent at the position.

Latavius Murray has departed but Marshawn Lynch is a more than competent replacement if he can regain his best form. The former Seattle Seahawks star, commonly referred to as “Beast Mode”, is a modern great and Oakland fans will be excited to see Lynch in action on the opening weekend. The Raiders have one of the strongest offensive lines in the National Football League and Lynch will profit if Oakland’s big guys avoid serious injuries.

Meanwhile, the Raiders are still blessed with talent at receiver and Carr could put up career high figures if his options perform well. With Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree out wide, Oakland have two reliable choices on offense and they will be backed up by the likes of Seth Roberts and tight-end Jared Cook. Last season, Cook showed glimpses of quality playing for the Green Bay Packers and he could become Carr’s favourite redzone target.

Stacked

On the other side of the ball, Oakland are stacked. Khalil Mack is their main man when it comes to bringing pressure and the 2016 Defensive Player of the Year will be looking to hit quarterbacks on a weekly basis next term. Mack has made 26 sacks since the beginning of the 2015 campaign and he is widely regarded as THE elite defensive talent in the NFL. At the very least, he is on par with Texans star JJ Watt.

You could claim that Oakland’s secondary might be the weak link next year but the Raiders moved quickly to select two talented rookies in the NFL Draft. Del Rio opted to take Ohio State cornerback Gareon Conley in the first round before moving for safety Obi Melifonwu in the second. Conley may have his off-field issues but he has the potential to blossom into a genuine shutdown corner for Oakland.

Prior to the draft, some had Conley as the second best cornerback in the draft. If anyone can get the most out of their new additions, it is defensive co-ordinator Ken Norton. And with John Pagano also helping out on that side of the field, Oakland could be set for an incredible season in all departments on defense.

Whether opposing fans like it or not, the Oakland Raiders hype is legit. It may be a little too soon to be predicting a Super Bowl triumph but the pieces for success are there and a push for the showpiece could ensue depending on how Jack Del Rio’s side start the campaign. If Carr gets back to his brilliant best, the Raiders should go far and could compete for the AFC Championship title.