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ALAMEDA — Where’s my helmet, and when do I get to hit one of these damn blocking sleds? Come on, Coach, build me a wall so I can run through it.

Raiders, on three!

Ahem. Sorry about that. (Smooths front of shirt.) I got a little carried away. I haven’t really dropped my journalistic detachment and bought some silver and black face paint. But man, that Jon Gruden press conference got me fired up on Tuesday.

I’ve never seen a coach’s introduction quite like it. The Raiders normally stage all of their major photo ops in the auditorium at team headquarters. That’s what the room was made for. But Gruden is too big for that. They had to move the festivities across the patio to the Raiders’ massive barn of a weight room.

There was a lot of inflated hype on display. The press conference began with a video projected onto the massive screen behind the podium. “Whispers became rumors,” a voice intoned over footage of Gruden high-fiving fans.

But not all the excitement was manufactured. Much of it emanated from the man himself. Gruden looks like a perfectly normal human being, but when he opens his mouth, he acquires the superpower of magnetism.

As former Raiders cornerback Charles Woodson said Tuesday: “You can feel the energy. There are few people draw that type of energy in any sport and any walk of life.”

Few indeed. I’ve been to — let’s count ’em up — eight Raiders coaching introductions now, and the team does a good job of rounding up alumni for these events. But the head count at the Gruden Greet was staggering.

Yeah, there were the usual suspects like George Atkinson and Willie Brown. But the heavy hitters showed up, too. Tim Brown and Jerry Rice were there, and Woodson and Howie Long and Rich Gannon. And so many obscure Raiders, like Chris Cooper and Roland Williams and Frank Middleton and Grady Jackson. Oh, and, because this had to go outside the box, A’s manager Bob Melvin.

The true barometer of this craziness, to me, was the presence of former defensive tackle Rod Coleman, who played here from 1999 to 2003. The last time I saw Coleman, he was sitting in the visitors’ locker room at dingy Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego after the final loss of the 2003 season, telling everyone in sight how eager he was to get the hell out of Oakland and away from this screwed-up franchise. But there was Coleman on Tuesday, backslapping with the rest of them.

That’s the power of Gruden. It doesn’t matter if he’s mic’d up on the NFL sidelines or grilling a quarterback prospect one-on-one or breaking down a screen pass in the “Monday Night Football” booth. When he talks, we lean forward an inch or two.

He didn’t even say a whole lot at his introduction. In fact, he was pretty guarded when asked when he committed to returning to the Raiders, and why the timing was suddenly right after he had declined Mark Davis’ advances so often in the past.

But Gruden’s personality escaped in small bursts. Mostly, when you least expected. Like when someone asked him about the coordinators he is hiring, and he wound himself up talking about the defense that Paul Guenther ran in Cincinnati.

“I loved the way the Bengals played defense: up the field, single gap, get after you,” Gruden said. The way his voice rose, I wanted to hear more.

Now, let’s be clear about this. Charisma is winless in the National Football League. If it had more value, Hue Jackson wouldn’t be 1-31 in Cleveland. In the long run, talent and scheme are far more important.

The Raiders clearly have some talent, especially on offense. But not as much as we thought a few months ago. And they still have holes in the middle and back end of the defense they must address to be considered true contenders. As for scheme, Gruden is a famed Xs-and-Os wonk who can talk bubble screens and single-high safety until the Cowboys come home. But his offenses weren’t always great, especially in Tampa Bay. In fact, he was known as a pretty conservative play caller.

So the confetti and noisemakers and conga line at Tuesday’s press conference do not, by any means, guarantee playoff wins in Oakland.

But this is where it has to start — with confidence, with enthusiasm, with shared commitment. They’re feeling it in Santa Clara right now, and they’ll soon be waist-deep in the stuff in Alameda. Because Gruden, more than almost any other coach of his generation, gets guys amped to lift weights, to study their playbooks and, most important, to hit the field on Sundays.

“It’s his passion, it’s his energy, his commitment, his drive. His love of football,” said Gannon, the last great Raiders quarterback and, possibly, their next QBs coach. “I know that sounds so simple, but he talks about it all the time — if you love football. He wants to surround himself with people that love football. It’s not about contracts, it’s not about the lifestyle, it’s not about prestige. It’s about going out and doing your best every day, and putting yourself in the arena.”

Every coach strives for this sort of revivalism, and other teams proclaim it every time a new guy is hired. Spotting the fakes isn’t hard, though.

“I’ve always felt like that’s a big aspect of football: Is the guy in the front of the room authentic?” Long said. “Does the guy in the front of the room reach everybody in the room? Does he pick the level of commitment, intensity, focus, commitment to being great collectively, commitment to being great individually — does he pick all that up?”

The Hall of Fame defensive lineman and longtime Fox studio host called it the Saran Wrap Factor: “Players see right through that in the front of the room if you’re not authentic.”

Long’s message: Gruden’s mania is 100 percent genuine. “I think it’s like a 4.9 on the Richter scale, in terms of the level of enthusiasm in the building,” he added. “And that’s not gonna change. … Jon’s like that every day. You think someone can’t possibly function like that on a daily basis. That’s who he is.”

Gruden’s greatest talent is seeing the best in you, and convincing you to do the same. Yes, he can be hard on players when they don’t execute — a pain in the ass, in fact. But that’s because he assumes all of them share his passion for the game, and he trusts them to be great. Someone asked Gannon how Gruden got the best out of him after the two got together here in 1999.

“I just think the belief was really important,” Gannon said. “I never had someone that believed in me enough to really hand me the keys to the car.”

Gruden makes you think he owns the coolest, shiniest car in town. Then he hands you the keys. You may eventually end up in a ditch or with a dropped clutch, but that moment you start the car is pure magic.

After the waves of hoopla had receded and the barn was mostly cleared out Tuesday, Gruden lingered with a last handful of reporters and Raiders PR reps. How you feeling about this, someone inquired?

“I’m a little nervous, a little excited,” Gruden said. “But those are the feelings that I miss.”

Those are the feelings we all miss. It has taken Jon Gruden to bring them back to the Raiders.

You can reach staff writer Phil Barber at 707-521-5263 or phil.barber@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @Skinny_Post.

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