As the final practice of the Raiders’ final day in Oxnard ended Wednesday, one coach, a smile on his face, said, “Hear that sound. They’ve got the motors on their cars running in the parking lot.”

And when a smiling Coach Art Shell cut short the traditional sprints at the end of practice, a cheer went up.

No more two-a-day workouts. No more long days and nights away from the family. No more Camp Shell.

“It was a killer,” said defensive lineman Anthony Smith. “It was a monster. But, you know, everything turned out just about right. This is just about the time to leave. Everybody is tired of two-a-day workouts. They can be physically and mentally draining. But then players aren’t happy unless they are complaining.”


Shell couldn’t be happier with the results of 5 1/2 weeks in Oxnard.

“It’s time to go home,” he said. “This has been a good camp. This has been a really good camp. But then, we have better players than we’ve had in recent years.”

Asked to single out younger players who impressed him in Oxnard, Shell mentioned linebacker Rob Holmberg, who led or shared the team lead in tackles in each of the last two games, linebackers James Folston and Rob Fredrickson and running back Calvin Jones.

Shell also singled out the elements for praise, thrilled that the Oxnard weather was hotter and more conducive to training than it had been in recent summers.


It’s not as if the Raiders are going on vacation. They are due to report to their year-around headquarters in El Segundo about 8 this morning, attend meetings, take part in a walk-through drill and then a full workout in the afternoon.

There are still two exhibition games remaining, starting Saturday night in Anaheim against the Rams, followed by the long, 16-game grind.

But at least Camp Shell is in their rear-view mirror.