Lechler hospitalized but excited to play former team

Lechler hospitalized but excited to play former team
November 14, 2013, 3:15 pm
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Shane Lechler is in the hospital with the flu but is expected to be released on Friday. Head coach Gary Kubiak said Lechler told him he’ll play on Sunday.

Lechler probably really doesn’t want to miss this one.

On Sunday, the Texans host the Raiders, the team Lechler played for from 2000-2012.

“I’m excited about it. It will be a unique week for me,” Lechler said on Monday. “It’s the first time that I’ve ever had to do this. Just to face a franchise, an organization that gave me 13 years of some ups and downs. Everyone wanted to count us out there for a few years but we had some good teams. It was fun. I know when I got there, we were on a roll, three in a row into the playoffs, Super Bowl, lost to Tampa. But this is a unique week for me but I’m excited about it.”

On Monday, Lechler was asked if it will be weird to play against former teammates on Sunday. But Lechler said most of the guys on the Raiders’ roster weren’t in Oakland with him.

“I was looking at the roster today and, man, they flipped it again,” Lechler said. “I thought they flipped it last year when I was still there but, man, looking at the special teams, there’s only three guys who I played (with) one being a kicker and one being a deep snapper. So it’s going to me playing a whole new team.”

One guy who is still with the Raiders is longtime kicker Sebastien Janikowski, who joined the Raiders in 2000, along with Lechler. The two talked on Monday and decided to shake hands before and after the game.

During his 13 years with the Raiders, Lechler was a seven-time Pro Bowler and a six-time All Pro. He became one of the greatest punters in the history of the NFL with the Raiders.

But who’s the best punter in Raiders’ history?

“Out of respect, I’ll say Ray Guy,” Lechler said. Guy played for the Raiders in the 70s and 80s and has a chance to be the first punter elected to the Hall of Fame. He would do so via the senior committee. Lechler said Guy calls him before each season to wish him luck.

Lechler, 37, was asked about his favorite memories from his 13 years with the Raiders.

“There’s a lot of moments,” he said. “Watching Rich Gannon become league MVP at his age was outstanding. I was in the locker right next to him. We’ve had some really good players come through there. I got to play with Jerry Rice. Our owner was Al Davis. There’s some stuff that was a lot of fun.”

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