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Josh McDaniels returning to a familiar field for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Game

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Thursday’s preseason opener for the Las Vegas Raiders will have a little more meaning for the team’s new head coach.

The annual Pro Football Hall of Fame Game, an exhibition game leading up to the Class of 2022’s enshrinement, will be a battle between the Silver and Black and the Jacksonville Jaguars. The last time Josh McDaniels entered Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium as a competitor, he was the starting quarterback for the Canton McKinley Bulldogs.

McDaniels grew up playing football in Canton, Ohio, and was coached by his father Thom McDaniels, the most-winningest coach in Canton McKinley school history. The elder McDaniels will now have the opportunity to see his son coach, just as he did, in the same stadium.

“It’ll be really an experience. Surreal is probably a good word for it,” Josh McDaniels on returning home to coach. “Thinking that he was coaching me and correcting me and calling plays for me many, many years ago. … My family has spent a lot of nights there over many, many years, so it’s a special place for us.”

McDaniels stated he’s just as excited to take his team to the Hall of Fame museum as he is to coach the exhibition game. He was also pleasantly surprised by the amount of Raiders that haven’t been to the museum before. He’s looking forward to witnessing his players experience the greatness of the Hall for the first time.

“They’re in this fraternity and it’s a special place,” said McDaniels. “I’ve been through it, I can’t tell you how many times, and each time I go through it, I see something different or new or they’ve added to it. There’s such an element of history and tradition. You just get excited because it’s such an important part of our game. To be able to represent the league and our team, going there, playing with Richard [Seymour] and Cliff [Branch] going in, it’s just an exciting opportunity for us.”

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