The Reluctant Raider: Hunter Renfrow wanted no part of the Raiders before draft
|Wednesday, February 16, 2022, 8:00 AM- -|
It didn’t take long for Hunter Renfrow to become a fan favorite of those who don the black and silver, whether they were in Oakland or Las Vegas. But Renfrow, who just completed a Pro Bowl season, didn’t want anything to do with the Raiders before the draft.
Renfrow caught a career-high 103 passes – he had 105 combined during the first two years of his career – for 1,038 yards and nine touchdowns in 2021. He’s proven to be one of the best slot receivers in the NFL and should thrive in new head coach Josh McDaniels’ system. He’s also eligible for a contract extension for the first time in his career, and could become one of the highest-paid slot receivers in the league.
His marriage to the Raiders is on solid footing, but Renfrow wasn’t sure that the Raiders were his chosen landing spot in the NFL Draft.
"You really don't know, you don't really have an idea," Renfrow said on Darien Rencher’s Players Podcast. "You know some teams like you, but you're not certain what's going to happen. So, I talked to my agent a little bit about if I'm not drafted, and I'm a free agent, like, where are the places that I want to go?”
Renfrow sat down with his wife Camilla, and the couple made a list of teams that were high on his list should he have to sign a free agent contract.
"So, I remember going through a list of where I wanted to go," Renfrow said. "And then I made a list of like, where do I not want to go. And I remember me and Camilla came to a consensus that the Raiders were the No. 1 team we did not want to go to."
Despite his limited grasp of geography, Renfrow knew that Oakland was a long way from South Carolina. And Las Vegas? Not a wholesome environment to raise a family.
"They were there in Oakland for one year and up until college, I thought Oakland was in like Florida," Renfrow said. "I had no idea where Oakland was. My geography is awful. It's so far away from home. When I found out it was California and all of the taxes. And I was like, 'I don't want to be there.' Then go all the way across the country from my family. And then we're going to Vegas in a year. And you know Sin City, that's the strip, that's craziness. So that's the No. 1 place we did not want to go."
Then came the night of the draft, and Renfrow received the call from Oakland.
“I remember in the moment, they call you and they tell you, you're going to Oakland," Renfrow said. "Once those feelings fade, you start thinking, and I remember thinking like, this is God just laughing at us. Like, we think we have our plans, but we have no idea what's going on. And God was like, 'I'm gonna put you where you don't want to go, just to show you what I want to show you.'"
Fast forward three years, and Renfrow is right at home in Sin City and with the Raiders.
"I couldn't be more thankful we ended up here because there's so many good people," Renfrow said. "And so it's been an amazing opportunity. I love the Raiders organization and really the teammates I play with. It's been special."