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Long and Pickel Cross Line, Then Call an Audible

October 03, 1987|MARK HEISLER | Times Staff Writer

Action heated up on the Raider picket line, where so many players crossed in so many directions that observers grew dizzy trying to keep track.

In the big news, Howie Long and Bill Pickel reported Friday, worked out after practice with assistant coach Earl Leggett, then walked out again, apparently at the suggestion of . . . Al Davis?

"I have one thing to say and one thing only," Long told a battery of reporters in front of the Raider facility. "It's not an open forum. Bill and I came back out of loyalty to our families and loyalty to the Raider organization.

"And after coming in and having further conversation with Mr. Davis, he felt and we both agreed that it would be better to do it as a team, whatever we do, stay out or come in. So at this time, we decided to go back out and join our teammates and whatever we do, we will do as a team. Thank you."

That made the final score for the day seven in, two out for a grand total of five. Crossing the line and staying in were three active players, all reserves--linebacker Jamie Kimmel, guard Bruce Wilkerson and halfback Ethan Horton--one player on injured reserve--linebacker Joe Cormier--and one draft choice who had been cut in camp--No. 10 pick Rob Harrison, a halfback from Cal State Sacramento.

The five will dress for the game against the Kansas City Chiefs Sunday at the Coliseum, but Raider Coach Tom Flores said he doesn't know how much, if any, they'll play.

"Howie and Pickel came in, but there was some indecision (on the players' parts)," Flores said. "I talked to them briefly but I'd rather not say what we talked about."

The Raiders had been one of the more solid striking teams, with one active player, Marc Wilson, crossing the line, although there had been recent hints that resolve was wavering. Thursday, Lester Hayes announced he will come in next week, adding he didn't expect to be alone.

Davis has said publicly that he doesn't know why his well-paid team should be striking, but letting the two stars of his defense leave is consistent with what he has done in the past. Mike Davis, a Raider in the '82 strike who now sits on the union's executive committee, said that the owner's only advice five years ago was to keep everybody together, in or out.

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