January 27, 1961

Today the Raiders announced their biggest signing of the offseason so far, inking halfback George Fleming to a contract. From the University of Washington, Fleming was the team’s second-round pick and the sixth-round pick of the Chicago Bears. To convince him to sign with Oakland, Eddie Erdelatz traveled to Seattle to speak with him in person. After the deal was announced, the Raider head coach was “elated.” “Needless to say, we’re very pleased to sign our number two draft choice,” he said. “He’s an outstanding football player and I’m confident he’ll see plenty of action with the Raiders. We plan to use him as a flanker back and also expect to utilize his ability as a placekicker. He’ll help us in several spots.”

Fleming had played quarterback with the Huskies and had been named co-outstanding player in the 1960 Rose Bowl.

In other news, supporters of a multi-purpose stadium in Oakland received encouraging news. Word came out that the American League had identified Oakland as likely site for Major League Baseball expansion by 1964. In response, the chair of the Oakland Coliseum Committee, Robert Nahas, responded by saying, “This gives us a great impetus to proceed with all speed along the lines we are now pursuing with the construction of an all-purpose stadium.” The committee was, at present, trying to fill out the directorship for the non-profit corporation tasked with getting the project underway.

Hayward Daily Review
Oakland Tribune
San Francisco Chronicle

January 24, 1961

The Raiders signed three more players today, but George Fleming was not one of them. The inking of the team’s second-round pick had been thought to be imminent, but Fleming was quoted today as saying, “I never said I’d decided on the Raiders. I haven’t decided on anything yet. So far as I’m concerned, everything is still open.”

A Raiders spokesperson said, “We can’t make any announcement until we actually sign him.”

The first player they did sign was their 21st-round choice, quarterback Mike Jones out of San Jose State, who had also been selected by the Steelers in the 20th round of the NFL draft. Jones, at 6’1” and 200 pounds, completed 71 of 152 passes for 1,049 yards with the Spartans in 1960 and had been an honorable mention All-America choice. Assistant coach Marty Feldman said Jones “has a strong arm and is a fine thinker.”

The team also signed 6’1”, 230-pound guard Roger Fisher of Utah State. The Raiders’ 23rd-round pick had been a two-year letterman on both sides of the line for the Aggies. He had started his college career at Modesto Junior College.

Finally, the Raiders signed free agent guard Arnold Metcalf from Oregon State. At 6’4” and 250 pounds, Metcalf was 25, having spent two years in the army after his college stint had ended.

Oakland Tribune
San Francisco Chronicle

January 19, 1961

A report appeared in a Seattle newspaper that the Raiders’ 2nd-round pick, University of Washington halfback George Fleming, had said he would sign with Oakland. This was the first the team had heard of it and no deal had been officially announced. Fleming said he had spoken with both the Raiders and the Bears, who had picked him in the 6th round of the NFL draft, and added that the Raiders were ready to meet his salary demands and use him as a flanker and placekicker.

San Francisco Chronicle

January 12, 1961

San Francisco Chronicle scribe Darrell Wilson wrote about the Raiders’ poor luck signing draft choices. Except for a couple of late round picks, the team had announced no other agreements. Of the first six choices, five had signed elsewhere: Joe Rutgens with the Redskins, Myron Pottios with the Steelers, Elbert Kimbrough with the Rams, Dick Norman with the Bears, and Bobby Crespino to the Browns. Only their second-round pick, George Fleming, had yet to sign and the Raiders were still hoping to nab him.

Player personnel director Wes Fry hastened to say the team had “signed about seven players. We’ll make the announcement soon. I think we’ll do a lot better from here on in. Things are looking up. As a whole, the AFL is doing a pretty good job. Of the league’s first 100 draft choices, we definitely have signed 29 and have lost 24 to the NFL and 3 to Canada. Of the first 50, we’ve signed 15 and have lost 15 to the NFL.”

Head coach Eddie Erdelatz, upon hearing that his team had signed seven players, asked, “Have we? Are they drafted players?” He said he wasn’t complaining, but said, “Any coach would be unhappy to lose five of the first six draft choices. We’ll be very happy to sign anybody. However, it’s really not my place to talk about these things. Ask the club officials.”

San Francisco Chronicle

November 21, 1960

The AFL announced the results of the first five rounds of their college draft. The Raiders went with tackle Joe Rutgens, a former All-American selection out of Illinois with their first choice. The complete list of their picks follows:

  • 1st round, T Joe Rutgens, Illinois
  • 2nd round, HB George Fleming, Washington
  • 3rd round, G Myron Pottios, Notre Dame
  • 4th round, E Elbert Kimbrough, Northwestern
  • 5th round, QB Dick Norman, Stanford

Locally, Norman got the most attention for obvious reasons, but he was playing it cool. “I’ll play where the money is,” he said. “I know what I want and if they don’t give it to me I just won’t play. If the pros don’t meet my terms I won’t even bother to turn out. I’ll just go back to school.”

The teams would make a sixth pick in a couple of days with the remaining 24 rounds coming sometime in December.

In stadium news, it was announced that the meeting between city and county officials to make a decision about a site and a funding plan, scheduled for tomorrow, would be postponed until December 7. This would give the parties time to make further investigations into the legal questions surrounding the proposal.

Associated Press
Oakland Tribune