Edwards Jr's activity to increase after 'solid first outing'

Edwards Jr's activity to increase after 'solid first outing'

ALAMEDA –Mario Edwards Jr. hadn’t played a football game that mattered in over a year, but the Raiders defensive lineman says the prolonged absence didn’t add gravity to his return.

Edwards Jr. made his season debut in Saturday’s victory over Indianapolis, playing 19 defensive snaps in his return from a hip injury. The ailment kept him on injured reserve longer than many expected, but had healed fully after a long layoff.

Edwards Jr. was happy to report feeling no worse for the wear.

“I knocked some rust off, and felt like I did pretty well after being off a whole year,” he said Tuesday afternoon. “The first game was about getting my feet wet and getting familiar with the blocks and schemes again. Next week will be better for me.”

Edwards Jr.’s activity level should increase on Sunday at Denver as he continues to acclimate back into the game flow. The Raiders hope he can be more of a full-time contributor once the playoffs hit.

“It was really good to get him back,” Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio said. “He got just under 20 reps. We wanted to cap it at 20, 30, somewhere in there. We didn’t end up taking a ton of reps on the day. I think we had in the 50’s yesterday. Solid first outing and I know, for him, he had a big smile on his face. He was just happy to be back in the action and get a chance to play again.”

Football players can rehab and recover well, but there’s always uncertainly about a physical response until they start hitting.

“Once I got my first contact, I was good,” Edwards Jr. said. “I was excited than anything else to get back out there in the Coliseum and play.

“These guys have been doing their thing all year, and I was just happy to be a part of it and contribute.”

Aldon Smith back in custody after police say he violated restraining order


Aldon Smith back in custody after police say he violated restraining order

SAN FRANCISCO — Former Oakland Raiders player Aldon Smith surrendered to police Friday on charges he violated a domestic violence restraining order.

San Francisco police said the 28-year-old Smith turned himself and was booked on three misdemeanor charges of violating a court order to stay away from a domestic violence victim.

Earlier this month, Smith pleaded not guilty to domestic violence and other charges and a judge issued a protective order prohibiting him from contacting the victim.

Police said Smith violated the restraining order earlier this week.

Smith’s attorney, Joshua Bentley, did not return a voicemail message from The Associated Press seeking comment.

The Raiders released the linebacker days after his arrest on the domestic violence charges.

He had been on the suspended list since late 2015 for violating the NFL’s policy on substance abuse.

Raiders retain E.J. Manuel, now have four QBs on the roster


Raiders retain E.J. Manuel, now have four QBs on the roster

The Raiders have a lot of quarterbacks under contract, certainly more than they’ll have come September.

That means the battle to be Derek Carr’s backup should be fierce. EJ Manuel had that title last year, with a shot to retain it after re-signing with the club on Thursday afternoon.

Veteran Josh Johnson signed up Monday, and those two will join third-year man Connor Cook behind Carr on the depth chart.

New head coach Jon Gruden loved Cook coming out of the draft, but the Michigan State alum failed to earn the backup job last season and must make a move up the depth chart to kickstart his career.

Manuel has a strong arm and starting experience, making him a steady and solid backup option. He completed 24-of-43 passes for 265 yards, a touchdown and an interception in two games when Carr was hurt.

Johnson might be a camp arm at this point, though he’ll be given a chance to compete this spring and summer.

Carr has been hurt for at least a small stretch in each of the last two seasons. Having Manuel in that spot might offer stability.

Gruden addressed last year’s backup quarterbacks last month at the NFL Scouting Combine.

Gruden on Manuel: “I think EJ is a young, talented guy,” Gruden said. “He’s been in the facility working out on his own every day. There is a bright upside to him, too, as a young quarterback to keep working with. He’s a free agent, but the Philadelphia Eagles proved that’s a pretty damn important position, isn’t it? Right? So we have to address that and see where we are.”

Gruden on Cook: “I am kind of surprised Connor hasn’t played in two years, other than the playoff game he got in as a rookie. After Derek got hurt last year, they turned the ball to EJ. I don’t know where Connor Cook is. I am frustrated right now that I can’t spend any time with him, but, April 9th (when the Raiders offeseason program starts) will be an exciting day for me and Connor Cook.”