Sebastian Janikowski will reach unrestricted free agency for the first time in almost two decades. He spent 18 years with the Raiders, working on a rookie deal and three straight contract extensions.
The Silver and Black said last week they’ll let Janikowski walk after his deal expires next month.
Janikowski has remained quiet since expected news broke that he would be moving on, but broke that silence with a statement issued through the Raiders on Wednesday afternoon.
“It hardly seems like 18 years ago that my name was called as a first round draft pick by Al Davis to play for the Oakland Raiders. This was my dream come true. I was thrilled to know that I was chosen to be a Raider.
“At the age of 16, my father, mother and I had come to America from Poland in hopes of a better life. This was my big opportunity. I was given a chance to achieve the great American dream.
"From my first day in training camp, I knew I was where I belonged. I loved every minute of it. I will always remember how Al Davis made me feel that he truly believed and had confidence in me. The Davis family, the coaching staff, my teammates, and the Raider Nation have always stood with me, supported me, and believed in me. For this, I truly thank you from the bottom of my heart.
“I feel as if I have grown up as an Oakland Raider. Through this great journey I met and married my wife, and we have been blessed with three beautiful little girls.
“I always knew that one day my time with the Oakland Raiders would come to an end, but I have to say, that never would have been too soon. It has been an honor and a privilege to wear the Silver and Black for these past 18 years. Words cannot express my gratitude to Mark Davis and the Raider Nation. No one could have said it better than Mr. Davis, but it is with pride and enthusiasm that I would tell my teammates to "Just win, baby!"
Janikowsi's healthy again after missing the 2017 season with a disc issue in his back. He wants to keep playing, a real prospect considering the power left in his leg.
The Raiders were happy with Giorgio Tavecchio’s performance last year. The 27-year old converted 16-of-21 field goals, though he cooled off some after a hot start. He’ll likely face competition this offseason. A free agent should join the roster, with the victor assuming kicking duties in 2018.