TEMPE, Ariz. — It’s been two years since Carson Palmer and Tommy Kelly wore the silver and black.
For Jared Veldheer, not even a full season has passed since he suited up for the Raiders.
All three will face their former team for the first time on Sunday when the Arizona Cardinals visit Oakland in a Week 7 matchup.
“Definitely one of the games that pops out at you,” Veldheer said. “It’ll definitely be an emotional game being back there, playing back in the Coliseum. It’s one of those games you kind of have circled on the schedule before the season starts. I look forward to it. It’s going to be a special week.”
Before he signed with the Cardinals in the offseason, Veldheer had known only the Raiders. Oakland drafted the 6-8, 321-pound left tackle in the third round (69th overall) of the 2010 NFL Draft. He appeared in 53 games, including 48 starts.
Palmer spent considerably less time in the Bay Area.
Following his trade from Cincinnati in 2011, he was a Raider for 18 months, a time he described as “odd” and “weird.”
“There was so much chaos,” Palmer said. “New coach, new GM, owner had died — the face of the franchise.”
But even with all of that to deal with, Palmer enjoyed his 25-game stint during which he became just the second quarterback in team history to throw for more than 4,000 yards in a season when he threw for 4,018 yards in 2012.
“There’s something special about being a Raider,” he said. “There’s just something different, and it’s different than every other team and every guy that plays for the Raiders says that. So, it was an awesome experience, just timing didn’t work out.
“It was short-lived, but it was special and something I’ll never forget.”
Meanwhile, Kelly’s tenure in Oakland lasted nine years.
But like Palmer, the veteran defensive tackle downplayed his return.
“I mean it’s pretty much just another game,” said Kelly, who signed with the Raiders as a rookie free agent in 2004 and amassed 34 sacks in 129 games. “I ain’t putting no more emotion into this game or nothing like that. I didn’t leave Oakland under no bad terms. It was a mutual decision, so I don’t got no hard feelings. I got nothing but love for everybody over there.”
Very few familiar faces remain, however.
Both Palmer and Veldheer mentioned how little of the defensive personnel they recognize since their time in silver and black.
What hasn’t changed, though, are the fans and what has become known as the “Black Hole”.
Kelly admitted to seeing pretty much everything.
“People get shot, people get cut,” he said about his experiences on Sundays inside the Coliseum.
Might he have some advice for those teammates of his who will experience the Raiders’ infamous homefield environment for the first time?
“That it’s not personal. They treat everybody the same way,” Kelly said. “You might get spit on. Something is going to get thrown at you. Just phase it all out because, like I’ve told a lot of people, fans don’t play football games. They can hoot and holler all they want, but they ain’t coming on the field. You pretty much don’t even worry about what they say. You need to worry about the 11 guys on the field.”