Hamilton's return may mean end of era for Raiders legend


Hamilton's return may mean end of era for Raiders legend

ALAMEDA – The Raiders only have two designations to return off injured reserve. They used one on Obi Melifonwu in Week 6. Antonio Hamilton got the other on Tuesday.

That means kicker Sebastian Janikowski won’t return this season from a back injury. There’s a real possibility 39-year old won’t play for the Raiders again.

His contract expires at season’s end, which might mean he's played his last down in silver and black. Janikowski is scheduled to hit the open market, and could play for another team for the first time since the Raiders selected him No. 17 overall in the 2000 draft.

That would mark the end of an era. We’re not there yet, but the Raiders could go younger and considerably cheaper after paying Janikowski $17.85 million since 2013. Janikowski renegotiated the last year of his deal to include $3 million guaranteed, an action executed just before he went on IR.

They have been pleased with Girogio Tavecchio this season, who stepped right in before Week 1 as Janikowski’s replacement. The Cal product, who spent four straight offseasons with the Raiders, is 12-for-15 this season with three field goals over 50 yards. Tavecchio has missed three extra point attempts this season. Tavecchio will be cheap, even as an exclusive rights free agent.

Hamilton still has a few weeks before he can contribute. Tuesday's return to practice opens a two-to-three week window for him to re-join the 53-man roster.  

That’s a positive sign for an ailing group of defensive backs. David Amerson announced another one, saying he’ll return to practice Wednesday.

Hamilton was placed on IR after tearing the meniscus in his knee on the opening kickoff versus Baltimore. He has been doing side work, but will join regular practice in hopes of a late-season return.

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.”