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Raiders' move to Las Vegas appears to be in the cards

Raiders' move to Las Vegas appears to be in the cards
Raiders owner Mark Davis (center) will get a vote on whether the franchise should receive NFL approval to relocate to Las Vegas. (John Locher / Associated Press)

The NFL is ready to roll the dice.

The league intends to vote as early as Monday on the Raiders' proposal to relocate from Oakland to Las Vegas, and owners at the annual meetings are leaning in favor of giving the franchise the green light.

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People with knowledge of the situation told The Times that both the stadium and finance committees — groups comprising 18 owners — will endorse the relocation Monday before the full membership of 32. It is not known whether those committees are unanimous in their support of the Raiders' plan, but a significant majority favors it.

Asked Sunday for his thoughts on the NFL in Las Vegas, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said: "Well, we'll see tomorrow. . . . It's going to be an exciting day for Vegas."

Chargers owner Dean Spanos is not on the stadium or finance committee but said he intends to vote to approve the move, calling the Raiders' plan "a great thing."

Rams owner Stan Kroenke is believed to be in favor of the move, and Raiders owner Mark Davis also gets a vote.

By every measure, the Raiders are well down the road toward locking up at least the minimum 24 votes required to move.

The reasons are twofold for the wind at the Raiders' back. The Las Vegas deal is enticing, with $750 million in public money on the table and Bank of America ready to finance the entire construction loan. And the NFL does not see a viable stadium option in Oakland.

Oakland and its partners made a last-ditch proposal to the league for a $1.3-billion stadium in that city. But in a letter to Mayor Libby Schaaf obtained by the East Bay Times, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell wrote: "Despite all of these efforts, ours and yours, we have not yet identified a viable solution. It is disappointing to me and our clubs to have come to that conclusion."

Chances are, the Raiders will get their way — and soon.

First-timer

Rams Coach Sean McVay is looking forward to his first experience at the owners meetings. McVay, 31, is the youngest coach in modern NFL history.

He will attend coaches meetings and will have the opportunity to weigh in on proposed rule changes.

"It's a great opportunity for me to kind of get exposed to some of the general managers and head coaches around the league," McVay said shortly after his arrival Sunday. "You always know about them, but maybe you get a chance to pick their brain."

Since his hiring in January, McVay attended the Super Bowl in Houston and also conferred with coaches at the scouting combine in Indianapolis.

"Most of the guys I've come into contact with have been so willing to share, so this is a unique opportunity to kind of learn a little bit about some of the things that the competition committee is proposing," he said. "So I'm looking forward to just a good next couple of days."

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McVay is scheduled to meet with reporters on Wednesday.

Return game

In the classic video game "Ice Hockey" for Nintendo, players selected their men on the ice by body type. There were the largest, widest ones who delivered big hits. There were in-between, normal-sized guys. And, lastly, there were rail-thin speedsters, skating for their lives, trying their best not to get flattened.

In the Chargers' first big free-agent signing, General Manager Tom Telesco went for size, inking offensive tackle Russell Okung. And, in the team's most recent signing last week, Telesco opted for one of the little guys.

By adding 5-foot-9, 190-pound running back Kenjon Barner, Telesco said the Chargers hope to address one of their biggest deficiencies — kick and punt returns.

While the sample sizes aren't large — Barner returned only nine kickoffs last season for the Philadelphia Eagles — he was productive, breaking one for 61 yards and averaging 30.8 yards per return. He fielded two punts, returning one for 22 yards.

The Chargers last season ranked among the league's worst teams returning kicks. They were third from the bottom on kickoffs at 18.1 yards per return, and sixth from the bottom on punts (6.6 yards per return).

The Chargers hired George Stewart to coordinate special teams, where the longtime NFL assistant began his coaching career.

Extra point

The NFL named Dr. Allen Sills its first chief medical officer. Sills, who will be a full-time employee at league headquarters, currently serves as professor of neurological surgery, orthopaedic surgery and rehabilitation at Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville. He is the founder and co-director of the Vanderbilt Sports Concussion Center.

Follow Gary Klein on Twitter @latimesklein

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