Ron Martz
The sign was part of a bedsheet or a pillowcase taped to a concrete wall behind one end zone in the Coliseum, napping in irregular patterns in the cold bay breeze. "Welcome Home Bob," was printed on it in not-too neat black lettering. No other explanation.

But that's all that was necessary. Every one of the 49,590 people who shivered through the afternoon to watch their Oakland Raiders flick aside the winless Tampa Bay Buccaneers 49-16 Sunday knew the sign was for Bob Moore, the tight end of the Bucs who has been a favorite son of the football followers in this area for years.

It was a homecoming for Moore — of sorts. But like so many homecomings it proved to be a time to wonder whether going home again ever worth it. He was better when they knew him then.

"COMING BACK here is the one thing that has been in the back of my mind all year," Moore said as he slowly stripped off his grass-stained whites. "I wondered how I would take it all, coming back and looking at the game from a different side of the field, using the visiting team's locker room. I didn't know how I would react. As it turned out it wasn't as difficult as I thought it would be. It wasn't as bad as I expected, although the game was worse than I expected. I'm just glad it's over."

For five years Moore toiled for the Raiders in seasons that always had more wins than losses, seasons that always held the prospect of championship money at the end of a year's work, seasons hat were comfortable and enjoyable.

Before that he had played four years at nearby Stanford University so the people here knew him. But now Moore is 3,000 miles from his home playing football for an expansion team that has yet to win a game in 12 tries and is as far removed on the National Football League spectrum from the Raiders as he could get.

He wanted the homecoming to be noteworthy, but it was as ignominious as the Bucs' season. He caught only one pus for 11 yards and missed part of the game when a former teammate hit him in the right knee with his helmet and Moore had to limp to the sidelines that is already filled with an army of hobbling players.

"They're more impressive from the other side of the field than they are when you're on their side of the field." Moore sad of the Raiders, now 11-1 on the season. "They can still run right over you if they want to and if they don't want to do that they just tell everybody to go long and throw the ball up in the air and one of their guys comes down with it. I'll be surprised if they don't do it all this year."

AS HE SAID that he was speaking into a circle of friendly faces who had covered his football exploits from the time he arrived at Stanford until he was put on the veteran allocation draft list by the Raiders earlier this year and taken by the Bucs. And ho said it somewhat wistfully it seemed, for he knows that he could still be With the Raiders, possibly steaming toward a spot in the Super Bowl.

But with the Raiders Moore got caught up in a numbers game. He was one of four tight ends and last year the Raiders were the only team in football to have that many. So his amount of playing time was sparse and he dropped hints that he would like to catch more passes. So he got his opportunity — but it's in Tampa.

This season for the Bucs he has caught 36 passes for 310 yards but no touchdowns. Meanwhile, Oakland is exploiting its trio of tight ends that includes Dave Casper, Ted Kwalick and Warren Bankston. Casper is the team's leading receiver— and one of the leaden in the NFL — with 46 catches for 613 yards and seven touchdowns. "I'm surprised they started throwing to the tight end this year," Moore said with a touch of humor and a touch of irony.

On Sunday both Casper and Kwalick were injured so the Raiders started Warren Bankston at tight end. It was his first start since 1971. He celebrated by catching three passes (he caught one in the 11 previous games) for 25 yards and one touchdown. And on the touchdown he tossed the ball into the stands in even more of a celebration, a celebration that will cost him $135, $100 fine plus the cost of the football.

BANKSTON HAD been planning the celebration for more than a week, when he found out he would be starting. Quarterback Kenny Stabler told him: "If you score I'll take care or the fine."

Somewhere, somehow, Bob Moore must have known that could have ham. 'That's all tight," he told the circle of friendly faces that didn't know whether to believe him. "Now I'm looking forward to coming back here in a few years and doing to the Raiders what they did to us to. But by then there won't be any bedsheets saying "Welcome home Bob” because absence makes the heart grow fonder.