ALAMEDA — The Oakland Raiders have made a habit of signing former 49ers players, dating back to the Al Davis era and continuing to present day.
They haven’t employed many former 49ers coaches, though both offensive coordinator Greg Olson and defensive coordinator Jason Tarver have worked for San Francisco. And both expressed fond memories.
Tarver attended Foothill High School in Pleasanton, which he said makes ‘Battle of the Bay’ games that much more special:
“As a young man from the Bay Area, growing up here, and to be a part of two great organizations and to be around great coaches and to have the opportunity to learn from them and great players in both places. That’s an honor and a privilege. But, all that said, one of the greatest things is this environment, these two teams in this environment. That’s what’s special about this week.”
Olson has a different story, though the obvious similarities are there. Growing up in Washington State, Olson was subjected to the type of rain that California has been wishing for.
Washington didn’t have an NFL team until Olson was 13 years old, just a few seasons before he led Spokane Falls Community College to a division championship as quarterback and team captain.
Olson recalled some memories from his days wearing crimson and gold:
“It was my first time in the Bay area, No. 1. That was when Steve Mariucci was just in the beginning stages of getting through the salary cap situation. We had a real successful year the year that I was there, so there is nothing but good memories of the Yorks and the entire organization. It was a good year for me.”
Olson, as quarterbacks coach in 2001, helped Jeff Garcia and the 49ers to a 12-4 record in his single season with the organization.
Tarver, who worked with Olson that season, was in San Francisco until 2010, serving as quality control and linebackers coach, along with a few other capacities.
During that time, he educated himself, though he says he took a few more things with him:
“I have a little badge that says, ‘Hi, welcome to Candlestick Park.’ That’s the only thing I have from there. One time a piece of glass fell down in the press box and it hit my head. So, I have a bloody visor, because you guys know I wear visors all the time, and I was bleeding on the visors. I have that visor because it was completely red and then more red. You never know what’s going to happen in a football game. So, I have that and a few other things but I won’t tell them all.”
While the two coaches have some fond memories, the series record between the two teams hasn’t been friendly to the Raiders.
In fact, the Raiders haven’t defeated the 49ers in Oakland since 1979 — when Tom Flores was in his first season as head coach and O.J. “The Juice” Simpson was starting tailback for the 49ers.
Those were different times, and certainly different rosters. As has been routine for the Raiders since that time, though, Oakland has some former 49ers players in silver and black.
“‘I look forward to it. It’s going to be exciting. They’ll be hyped up to play against me. I’ll be hyped up to play against them, and it’s always great competition when you go against guys you’re familiar with.”
And Brown’s advice to his new teammates?
“I think the biggest advice I can say is be ready. It’s going be electric out there. I think the atmosphere will be great. Besides all of that, you just have to go out there and play football. Let the chips fall where they fall. Go out there and compete, down in and down out, and let the best man win.”