Raiders’ Josh Jacobs has fashioned bond with Hall of Famer Marcus Allen

HENDERSON, Nev. — Josh Jacobs had simply rumbled for 143 yards and three touchdowns in a dominant Week 7 win in opposition to the Houston Texans, culminating his first streak of three straight video games with no less than 100 yards dashing this season, when he was lastly corralled by Las Vegas Raiders royalty.

Marcus Allen, the Hall of Fame working again who had taken a shine to Jacobs from the second his outdated crew drafted him in 2019, pointed at Jacobs outdoors the house locker room in Allegiant Stadium as he turned to Raiders proprietor Mark Davis.

“You,” Allen excitedly informed Davis, “are going to have to pay this dude.”

With Jacobs having a monster season in a contract 12 months — the Raiders’ regime of common supervisor Dave Ziegler and coach Josh McDaniels declined to select up Jacobs’ fifth-year possibility final summer time — and at the moment using one other three-game streak of century-plus dashing video games that has him main the NFL with 1,303 dashing yards and 1,634 yards from scrimmage, he’s certainly heading for a payday. And the franchise file e-book.

As a result of whereas Jacobs’ dashing complete is already the second-highest single-season mark in Raiders historical past, he’s on tempo for 1,846 dashing yards in 17 video games, which might break Allen’s crew file of 1,759 dashing yards within the 16-game, 1985 season, when he was NFL MVP.

And Jacobs maybe has no greater backer in his quest not just for the bag, however for soccer excellence, than Allen, who has develop into his mentor. Sure, even because the teenager units his sights on eclipsing the Hall of Famer’s decades-old franchise marks, a journey Jacobs, who’s nursing a strained left calf and bruised quadriceps, seems to proceed Thursday night time in opposition to the Los Angeles Rams (8:15 p.m. ET, Prime Video) within the metropolis of Allen’s best soccer triumphs.


IT WAS JACOBS’ private story of typically rising up homeless in Tulsa, Oklahoma, typically residing out of a automobile together with his father Marty and his 4 siblings, that first caught Allen’s consideration.

“It’s really a testimony,” Allen informed ESPN.com lately, “where you start doesn’t mean you have to finish there. So, I was taken by the story. Obviously, anybody who comes from a situation like that, you’re rooting for them.

“After which, being drafted by the crew, the Raider group that I’ve nice affection for, I wasn’t actually attempting to be an advisor. I used to be simply actually telling him I used to be impressed by him. That is actually it.”

That initial conversation between the Raiders’ all-time leading rusher and the Raiders’ first-round draft pick took place at a charity softball game in Las Vegas the summer of 2019, months after Jacobs was selected with the No. 24 overall pick out of Alabama.

The star-struck rookie knew exactly who Allen was when he approached him.

“We simply began speaking in regards to the outdated days,” Jacobs recalled with a smile. “I noticed him in a unique gentle. Him with the followers. And I received to know him.

“Some guys, they say you don’t want to meet your idols. But he’s one of them guys that’s real humble, a real genuine dude. And I’ve got a lot of respect for him.”

It is greater than a mutual admiration society.

As a result of as Jacobs burst via the center of the road and raced untouched 86 yards for the walk-off landing at Seattle on Nov. 27, the rapid comparability was to Bo Jackson and his breathtaking 91-yard TD dash up the left sideline and into the Kingdome tunnel virtually 35 years to the day earlier.

Factor is, it was extra intently associated to Allen’s iconic 17 Bob Trey O reverse-field 74-yard gallop in Tremendous Bowl XVIII in opposition to Washington. As a result of whereas nobody questioned Jackson’s velocity or energy, the knock on each Allen and Jacobs popping out of school was that neither supposedly had breakaway velocity.

“It’s all about angles,” Jacobs stated slyly. “It’s all about angles.”

Allen howled.

“Absolutely,” Allen stated. “Dude, I took away more angles running. I’d be running side by side with somebody, and I had the ability to step to the right and [the distance] increased like it was a 10-yard difference. It’s interesting he says that about angles, too. That’s something he has instinctively, but also intellectually.

“It isn’t solely the artwork of studying the playbook and understanding the sport itself, however there’s additionally, I will not say it is a science, nevertheless it’s virtually metaphysical. I wasn’t the quickest man on the market, however I used to be quicker than most individuals thought. And I might actually create angles, which might create separation and distance.”

It’s one of the many lessons Jacobs has taken from Allen in their talks or texts, Allen sending the occasional “reminder” to his young charge — who wasn’t even born until a month and a week after Allen had played his final NFL game.

Another reminder: 17 different running backs had led the Raiders in single-season rushing between Allen’s final time at the top of that list in 1988 and Jacobs arriving in 2019. According to ESPN Stats and Information, that’s tied with the New Orleans Saints and Green Bay Packers and only one fewer than the Denver Broncos, Cleveland Browns, Arizona Cardinals and New England Patriots for the most leading rushers in that span

Plus, at 5-foot-10, 230 pounds and with a running style that is reminiscent of a bowling ball picking up a 7-10 split, Jacobs looks nothing like the sleek, 6-2, 210-pound Allen running upright to daylight.

The only time they look similar is when Jacobs mimics Allen by going over the pile at the goal line.

“I had by no means leaped till I got here right here,” Jacobs said. “That was at all times one thing I assumed was dope. I do not see a gap, I am excessive. I had by no means considered going excessive till the conversations with him, for actual.”

So why the kismet?

For Jacobs, it began with watching documentaries and highlight clips.

“I used to be at all times a fan of his,” Jacobs said, “and I at all times thought it was fascinating for him to do what he was doing after which have Bo come and he is nonetheless attempting to do what he do together with his alternatives. I at all times considered that, even once I was at Bama and I am sharing carries with guys. I at all times type of thought, That is the way you be a professional.

“A lot of guys in this league, I feel like they think they’ve got all the answers. They don’t feel like they could talk to guys and actually want to learn and be acceptable to listen to things, even critical things. I feel like that’s where me and him click.”

As impressed as Allen is with Jacobs’ manufacturing, he’s extra swayed by the teenager’s seemingly outdated soul strategy in a brand new jack sport.

“Everybody’s going to have their style but not everybody has that heart, and he has heart,” Allen stated. “When I was 13 years old, a guy I admired was Muhammad Ali. Just physically gifted as far as speed and all this other stuff, but he was courageous.

“[Josh] has braveness and, sadly, not all people has that. Not all people needs the ball when the sport’s on the road. Not all people’s going to assault the objective line with the desperation that is mandatory to your crew to win. So, I really like that about [Josh], his quest to be not solely a bodily power, however an mental one as effectively.”

Jacobs is also leading the NFL in first downs from scrimmage (85) while scoring 10 TDs and averaging 5.4 yards per carry (Allen averaged 4.6 ypc in his MVP season). He has rushed for a combined 482 yards his last three games.

Yeah, Jacobs is a throwback.

“We have type of gotten away from the working sport, however the groups which can be actually efficient at working the ball, it’s the quarterback’s finest pal,” Allen said. “It’s the solely a part of the sport that makes your opponent give up … it is the one a part of the sport that has a psychological affect on the opponent.”


ALLEN WAS THE Raiders’ first round pick, No. 10 overall, out of USC in 1982, when the team called L.A. home. But his time with the Raiders did not end well, the feud with Al Davis essentially banishing him his last four years with the team before he signed with the Kansas City Chiefs in 1993, where he enjoyed a five-year renaissance. Mark Davis welcomed him back to Silver and Blackdom in 2012, when Allen lit the Al Davis Torch before a game in Oakland, a year after the elder Davis died.

Jacobs, ever the football historian, has heard the story as he authors his own.

Even if he says his option being declined was not a slap in the face, or a motivating factor.

“I felt like all people else thought it was extra critical of a factor than I did,” Jacobs said. “For me, I am like, ‘OK, that simply means I will receives a commission youthful.’ Earlier and at a youthful age. I am 24.

“That was my point of view. I felt like it was a perfect situation because it was all on me, I controlled the narrative at that point. Whatever I did, whether it was good or bad, it would be on me. I kind of liked that. I kind of liked that pressure a little bit.”

To manage his future, Jacobs stated he needed to impress the brand new employees, in addition to new teammates, and earn their respect.

“A lot of people didn’t see or necessarily acknowledge the things that I was doing, the work I was putting in, the sacrifices,” he stated. “It was more so about that disrespect that drove me, for real, if you want me to be honest.

“That is the kind of factor that drove me essentially the most this offseason — having to be taught a brand new playbook, seeing the potential of my position within the playbook. That is the type of factor that drove me, greater than the fifth-year possibility.”

Had the Raiders picked up the option for 2023, they would have been on the hook for $8.03 million. If they choose to use the franchise tag on him next year, overthecap.com estimates it will be more than $12.63 million for running backs.

No, Jacobs has not discussed his contract situation with Allen. Not in a direct way.

Allen did all the talking for him with Davis that day after the Texans game. And Jacobs, a one-time Pro Bowler, chuckled at the memory.

Allen, who has won a Heisman Trophy as well as NFL offensive rookie of the year, Super Bowl MVP, NFL MVP, NFL offensive player of the year and comeback player of the year, exhaled.

“I am a type of those that imagine nothing occurs by chance,” Allen said. “I feel you are supposed to satisfy individuals. You are supposed to come back involved with like-minded individuals, and if they are not 100% like-minded, there’s one thing in them that draws energies collectively. I at all times say for a motive, a season or a lifetime.

“Hopefully, it’s a lifetime, but I was certainly put in his path. And really, just want to remind him that what he did collegiately, he can do on this level. If he applies himself, if he really loves it, if he gives it the passion that it deserves and really puts in the work, he can do the same thing.”