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RAIDERS NATION

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The Las Vegas Raiders’ front office has a fascinating dynamic.

It’s not often that two people who were competing for the same job and up working together for that franchise.

But that’s the case with the Raiders as former interim general manager Champ Kelly has stuck around with the organization even after the team chose former Los Angeles Chargers general manager Tom Telesco over Kelly in January to be the GM moving forward.

Yet, Kelly remains with the team and he and Telesco seems to be working well together as the Raiders have navigated through NFL free agency and the draft and have received praised for their decisions in both areas.

Wednesday, Kelly spoke to media members and expressed excitement about working with Telesco.

“There was a lot of cohesion. Again, a testament to Tom [Telesco]. He came in, he didn’t come in and say we’re just doing everything my way, it’s my way or the highway. He came in and he listened to our scouts and our evaluations,” Kelly said in comments distributed by the team. “I think it’s a testament to the scouts because the quality of work they had done throughout the fall was so good that he could come in and really get a feel for them and also get a feel for how they viewed the players that were draft eligible. I’ve been through multiple systems now and no matter how you turn the verbiage, ultimately all you’re doing is you’re vertically stacking a position group, and then you’re horizontally stacking that position group across the other position groups. It doesn’t matter what system you’re doing, all we are trying to do is find the best players and the best Raiders for us.”

Kelly said he didn’t know Telesco, who was fired after 11 seasons with the Chargers in December, personally very well before they began working together, but they have quickly formed a strong working relationship.

“I did not know Tom extremely well. I went to a few symposiums where he was the speaker at. So, got a chance to get some nuggets of wisdom from him at the symposium that he spoke,” Kelly said. “Obviously, him being in the division, you know of him. Was really close with JoJo wooden, who is over here with us right now. When we first got together, he laid out expectations for me and I was transparent with him about how I viewed the team and some of the needs and some of the places that I thought we needed to do to make this team better. I was able to check my ego and put this team first. It’s not about me, it’s really about Raider Nation, the alumni, to try to put our best product forward so that we can win football games for this city and Raider Nation. But Tom is easy to talk to, and I think ultimately, he wants the best for me, and I want the best for him and this football team, and my job is to support him in all that we do as we move forward. And hopefully we’ll continue to build trust as we work together and win some football games together.”

Telesco has spoken well of Kelly during this offseason and it seems like they truly enjoy and appreciate working together. Often, key members of the existing front office leave franchises after the draft when a new general manager is brought it. Yet, these comments suggest Kelly will remain in Las Vegas.

If the Raiders have success in 2024, Kelly could be a top candidate for GM openings next offseason. Until then, it seems like he and Telesco are completely at peace working together and that’s a good thing for the franchise.

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