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PRO FOOTBALL / DAILY REPORT : RAIDERS : Tough Decisions Awaiting Shell

August 26, 1994|LONNIE WHITE

On the bubble is a phrase used to describe NFL players who are on the borderline of being released. With teams forced to trim rosters to 53 Sunday, several players will have their last chance to impress the coaches Saturday when the Raiders play at Houston in their final exhibition game.

What makes this process so tough for Coach Art Shell is the Raiders' considerable depth and strong core of veterans returning from last season's playoff team.

It's true that it's easier to make cuts this season because of the increased number of players kept on the active roster compared to last season's 46, but the final cutdown will still be difficult for the Raiders.

With so many positions secured with returning starters and experienced veterans, some players' fate may be determined by their performance against the Oilers.

"Guys can definitely earn a spot by making an impact (against Houston)," Shell said. "It's been done in the past."

Shell, however, did say that other factors might be more important for a player to make the team than just to play well in the final exhibition game.

"You always have a chance to show what you can do until the final cut is made," Shell said. "But, the process doesn't always revolve around games. You have practice sessions, injuries and other things that come into play. It is just not one situation."

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The Raiders will be host of the NFL Experience, a football theme park, outside the Coliseum on Saturday and Sunday Sept. 10-11, before their first home game against the Seattle Seahawks.

Only ticket holders for the game will be admitted to the NFL Experience, which features interactive games, NFL memorabilia and former players. The park will be open from 10 a.m to 6 p.m. on Saturday and 9 to 11:30 a.m. on Sunday.

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