Raiders open preseason in McDaniels’ hometown

New head coach Josh McDaniels shares his hometown with the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Published: Aug. 3, 2022 at 8:30 PM PDT
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CANTON, Ohio (FOX5) - The Raiders begin preseason play on Thursday night against Jacksonville in the Hall of Fame Game in Canton, OH. For head coach Josh McDaniels, it will have special meaning because Canton is his hometown.

“It was a really cool place to grow up,” McDaniels said. “It was a great place to be a young boy who loved football and what a blessing that I get to come back there and do it. I never would have dreamed that this would have happened.”

McDaniels is seeing his football and life journey come full circle. The Raiders game will be played in the same stadium where he played games for his father at Canton McKinley High School. His dad Thom is a legendary high school coach in Ohio who won a state and national title at McKinley. Now Thom will be watching his son coach in the same stadium.

“It will be an experience,” McDaniels said. “Surreal is probably a good word for it. He was coaching me and correcting me and calling plays for me many, many years ago. My brother played for him after myself. My family has spent a lot of nights there over many, many years.”

The city of Canton rolls out the red carpet every year for the Hall of Fame weekend. But football is a way of life in this town year-round.

“It was never lost on me that this was a special place,” McDaniels said. “They have helmets on the double yellow lines when you’re driving down the road. You pass the Hall of Fame every day when you go to school. In high school, you’re playing right there and you can see it over the stands.”

The Raiders visited the Hall of Fame on Wednesday night. It was the first time there for many of the players and for McDaniels it was an important part of the trip.

“They’re in this fraternity and it’s a special place,” McDaniels said. “I’ve been through 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.”

McDaniels will have several friends and family at the game and so will Raiders General Manager Dave Ziegler who grew up about 30 miles north of Canton in Tallmadge.