Battle of the Bay opens exhibitions 

The 49ers and Raiders will kick off the 2008 exhibition season against one another.

The annual Battle of the Bay takes place the weekend of Aug. 8-10 at Oakland’s McAfee Coliseum, the NFL announced Thursday. Exact times and dates of the preseason games willbe announced at a later date.

In the first game at Candlestick Park (Aug. 15-17) for coach Mike Nolan’s Niners, it will be a battle of the top two quarterbacks selected in the 2005 draft as Alex Smith and the 49ers face former Cal star Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers. Rodgers is the expected starter for the Packers in the wake of Brett Favre’s retirement last month.

On Aug. 21, the Niners travel to Chicago for a nationally televised Thursday night game on KTVU (Ch. 2) in what is sure to be billed as the Lance Briggs Bowl. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell recently stripped the 49ers of a fifth-round draft pick for tampering withthe Bears’ linebacker, whom San Francisco tried to trade for last season and illegally talked with his agent about a contract.

LaDainian Tomlinson and the San Diego Chargers visit Candlestick for the preseason finale (Aug. 28-29).

After facing the Niners, coach Lane Kiffin’s Raiders will travel to Tennessee to face Vince Young and the Titans on Aug. 16 in a nationally televised Saturday night game, also on KTVU. The Raiders wrap up their preseason schedule by hosting Arizona (Aug. 22-24) and visiting Seattle (Aug. 28-29).

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A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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