September 14, 2018 at 5:16 am #1951
ALAMEDA Drew Bledsoe Jersey , Calif. (AP) — Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie waited the entire offseason and most of August for the right opportunity to sign with an NFL team.
Then almost as soon as he did, he was thrown right into the action. Rodgers-Cromartie signed with the Oakland Raiders last Thursday as a late addition providing depth in the secondary and was immediately put on the field for nine snaps the following night in an exhibition game against Green Bay.
“That was a big surprise to me,” Rodgers-Cromartie said Monday. “But it felt good to be out there and run around and get back into the game.”
Rodgers-Cromartie had been waiting for that chance ever since getting cut by the New York Giants in March. He talked with several teams and visited four but didn’t sign a deal until the Raiders called last week.
The market wasn’t strong for a 32-year-old who lost his starting job last year and was suspended for one game by the Giants for an unexcused absence.
“You just have to wait,” he said. “‘It’s frustrating because I still feel I have ability to go and be out there. It’s frustrating. But you have to understand. Being an older guy, teams are looking to go younger. You just have to wait.”
Rodgers-Cromartie is doing his best to get up to speed quickly. He said he was only asked to play man coverage in his brief stint against the Packers and is trying to learn the language of coordinator Paul Guenther’s defense.
Rodgers-Cromartie said he’s leaning heavily on former Giants teammate Leon Hall, who has been with the Raiders this entire offseason and also played for Guenther in Cincinnati.
Rodgers-Cromartie has been a productive player in his career with 30 interceptions and 144 passes defensed in 153 career games for Arizona, Philadelphia, Denver and the Giants.
He can play multiple spots in the secondary, although he said he’s more comfortable at cornerback than safety right now because he is still learning the new defense.
“That’s what I love about the acquisition,” coach Jon Gruden said of his versatility. “I think he’s a corner. I think he’s a guy that can play the nickel because he’s played the nickel. You can put him in there in a dime position. He can play deep. He’s played in every defense known to man and he can still run. He has size and length. Right now he’s mastering our defense. We’ll try to get a few snaps, hopefully, from him at Seattle and see what happens.”
While the Raiders brought Rodgers-Cromartie in just before the start of the season, they made several other moves Monday starting with a trade that dealt receiver Ryan Switzer and a 2019 sixth-round draft pick to Pittsburgh for a fifth-round pick next year.
Oakland had acquired Switzer during the draft in a deal with Dallas for 2016 second-round pick Jihad Ward. The Raiders had high hopes for Switzer but Dwayne Harris beat him out as the returner and reserve receiver.
“He’s a capable guy coming in there in the slot,” Gruden said. “He can go outside. He showed some separation when he did play the other night. Had a good return called back. He’s a versatile player. We can hand him the ball. We can do a lot of things with him. He’s tough. He was just hurt last year. That was why you didn’t hear from him.”
Oakland also signed free agent cornerback Jarell Carter and defensive tackle Connor Flagel. Tackle Breno Giacomini was released and receiver Griff Whalen was placed on injured reserve with turf toe.
One player who still isn’t with the team is star pass rusher Khalil Mack Terron Armstead Jersey , who has been holding out all year as he seeks a long-term contract. Mack skipped the entire offseason program, training camp and now will miss the entire exhibition season.
Whether he reports before the start of the season in two weeks remains to be seen.
“I don’t want to put any timetable on it,” Gruden said. “This has obviously been a long a process that has been grueling for both parties and fans and me personally. We’re just hoping we can get him in here.”
WESTFIELD, Ind. (AP) — Adam Vinatieri vividly remembers his last game against Morten Andersen.
Andersen had already logged more than 20 seasons in the NFL, was well into his 40s, nearing the end of his career and still kicking as well as anyone in the league. Back then, Vinatieri marveled at how the seemingly ageless Andersen managed to excel for so long.
Now, more than a decade later, Vinatieri finds himself grinding through his 23rd NFL training camp, hoping to join the NFL’s career scoring leader in the Hall of Fame. Andersen was inducted last year.
“I would have liked to have seen a handful more kickers and punters make it in there, but finally getting a second kicker in and Ray Guy getting in, it’s good that we have some representation in there because those guys did a lot for the league,” the Indianapolis Colts kicker said.
Andersen’s induction last year provided hope to specialists such as Vinatieri that they, too Dwayne Allen Jersey , could be headed to Canton, Ohio, one day.
Until Andersen’s selection, Vinatieri wasn’t sure. The only one other “pure” kicker to earn pro football’s highest distinction was Jan Stenerud in 1991. Guy was elected in 2014, ending the shutout for punters.
Some believe Vinatieri could be next.
His sterling resume glistens with Hall of Fame credentials: four Super Bowl rings, the league record for 100-point seasons (20) and second all-time in career scoring (2,487 points). Anderson finished with 2,544 and Vinatieri needs 58 points to break the record, which could happen at midseason if all goes well.
He owns the career record for scoring in postseason games (234), is the only player to top 1,000 points and make 200 field goals with two teams, has celebrated a league-record 225 victories, including playoffs, and made a league-high 44 consecutive field goals. If Vinatieri completes this season Mike Daniels Jersey , he would become only the third 46-year-old player to suit up for an NFL team.
His highlight reel contains some of the most memorable kicks in league history: two last-minute field goals to win Super Bowls and the tying and winning kicks in the infamous Snow Bowl, which helped New England win the first of its five Lombardi Trophies. He has been dubbed the best clutch kicker in league history and there’s no indication “Automatic Adam” is slowing down.
“It’s ridiculous,” holder Rigoberto Sanchez said. “It’s honestly out of this world, I think. Twenty-three years in the league, still kicking the ball the way he kicks it, 60 yards out in practice. It’s unreal.”
Just how much has Vinatieri seen and done during his career?
He is the last link to the NFL’s developmental league in Europe, the one Andrew Luck’s father worked with, and one of only two players left from the 1990s. Former teammate Phil Dawson is the other.
Vinatieri joined the league before former teammates Peyton Manning and Tom Brady, still reminds people he once tackled Herschel Walker and acknowledges missing on Desmond Howard and Devin Hester as they returned his kickoffs for Super Bowl scores.
He played for Hall of Fame coaches Bill Parcells and Tony Dungy, in addition to Bill Belichick. His newest coach, Frank Reich, actually threw for 281 yards against the Patriots during Vinatieri’s rookie season in 1996.
Somehow, though, he remains the epitome of consistency.
Last year Alex Collins Jersey , with a new long snapper and a new holder, Vinatieri still made 85.3 percent of his field goals and scored 109 points and now he’s back with his oldest son, A.J., serving as a ball boy at training camp.
“It comes to a point where Adam is Mr. Clutch over here, so (long snapper) Luke (Rhodes) just tries to do his job right and get the 12 o’clock laces and I try to get the ball in the spot that he likes and let him do the rest,” said Sanchez, who wasn’t even born until a week after Vinatieri’s NFL debut in 1996. “He’s been kicking it straight for a long time.”
Despite the honors, the nicknames and the Hall of Fame predictions, Vinatieri knows he may still need more to follow the kicker he has been watching since his younger days in South Dakota into the NFL’s most hallowed halls.
“I don’t think it hurts, that’s for sure,” Vinatieri said. “It’s one of those things that I haven’t really though too much about it. I’m still just trying to help my team win games and keep on putting chapters in this book and if that happens, fantastic.”
NOTES: The Colts have activated starting safeties Clayton Geathers and Malik Hooker from the physically unable to perform list Thursday. Both were coming off knee surgery. … Guard Jeremy Vujnovich also was activated from PUP. He had been out with an injured calf after starting all 16 games last season.
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