A former Navy running back had the idea to bring the Raiders to Las Vegas

In December, when The Baltimore Sun's Mike Klingaman caught up with former Navy running back Napoleon McCallum, the College Football Hall of Famer said he was trying to bring the Oakland Raiders to Las Vegas.

What he didn't say was that the now successful relocation of the NFL franchise, for which he played 74 games, is partly his brainchild. 

According to the Reno Gazette-Journal, Chase Whittemore of Argentum Partners, which successfully lobbied for $750 million in public funding for the Raiders' new Las Vegas stadium last year, said on "Nevada Newsmakers" that it was McCallum's idea to bring the team to the state. 

McCallum is friends with Mark Davis and, according to the Gazette-Journal, spoke with the Raiders owner in 2015, when Davis was frustrated with the franchise's aging Oakland Coliseum and unsuccessful attempts to find a financially viable solution to remaining in the city.

When McCallum returned to work at Las Vegas Sands shortly thereafter, he spoke with members of the casino and resort company's government affairs team. An idea came to him.

"You know, I was just talking to Mark Davis, and they are not really happy with Oakland, so what do you think about bringing the Raiders to Las Vegas?" Whittemore recalls McCallum saying. One of the government affairs team members considered the idea a good one. 

Soon the proposal was brought to the company's investment committee and to Sheldon G. Adelson, who founded Las Vegas Sands. Adelson partnered with the Raiders' Davis to bring the team to Las Vegas, and while Sands in February backed out of a $1.9 billion stadium project, NFL owners approved Oakland's relocation one month later.  

"A lot of people are coming together to make this happen," McCallum told Klingaman last year. "I think the chances are pretty good."

And Las Vegas has him to thank.

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