McKenzie: No update on potential Aldon reinstatement, won't count him out

McKenzie: No update on potential Aldon reinstatement, won't count him out

ALAMEDA -- Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie sat down with local beat reporters on Thursday morning, but didn’t come armed with breaking news.

Aldon Smith had not yet been reinstated to the NFL. Smith applied for reinstatement on Oct. 2, according to ESPN, and commissioner Roger Goodell would have to rule on the application within 60 days only if all the application requirements were met. If the requirements weren't met, the NFL could remain silent on the matter. 

That 60th day comes on Friday, but it’s unclear whether a ruling will come then, or at all in the near future.

McKenzie and the Raiders remain in wait-and-see mode regarding their star edge rusher, who was banished at least one calendar year on Nov. 15, 2015 for violating the NFL substance abuse policy.

“I was hoping I could give you guys something,” McKenzie said with a smile. “But (the NFL) will let us know in due time. I’m sure they’re in communication with each other on that, but they don’t fill us in on anything with that process.”

Smith isn’t allowed to have direct contact with Raiders coaches or front office personnel, save the player engagement director, though information can be relayed through representatives.

The Raiders have been completely reliant on Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin off the edge and could certainly use Smith’s help as a rotational pass rusher.

If he is reinstated Friday or later this year, Smith could make an impact for the Raiders without much practice time.

“We would go through the proper channels to see where he is physically and mentally and all that,” McKenzie said. “But, to totally discount this year, we wouldn’t do that.”

As a reminder, here’s the reinstatement procedure, taken direcly from the NFL Substance Abuse Policy:

Any Player who has been banished under Stage Three may apply formally in writing for reinstatement no sooner than 60 days before the one-year anniversary date of the letter so banishing him.

The application should include all pertinent information about the Player’s:

(a) Treatment;
(b) Abstinence from Substances of Abuse throughout the entire period of his banishment;
(c) Involvement with any Substances of Abuse related incidents; and
(d) Arrests and/or convictions for any criminal activity, including Substances of Abuse-related offenses.

Set forth below are the procedures to be used when an application is received by the Commissioner.

1. Within 45 days of receipt of the application, the Player will be interviewed by the Medical Director and the Medical Advisor, after which a recommendation will be made to the Commissioner with regard to the Player’s request for reinstatement.

2. The Player will execute appropriate medical release forms that will enable the Commissioner’s staff and NFLPA Executive Director’s staff to review the Player’s substance abuse history, including but not limited to attendance at counseling sessions (individual, group and family); attendance at 12-step and other self-help group meetings; periodic progress reports; and all diagnostic findings and treatment recommendations.

3. The Player will submit to urine testing by an NFL representative at a frequency determined by the Medical Advisor.

4. The Player will agree in a meeting with the Commissioner or his representative(s) to comply with the conditions imposed by the Commissioner for his reinstatement to the status of an active Player.

5. All individuals involved in the process will take steps to enable the Commissioner to render a decision within 60 days of the receipt of the application.

New Raiders cornerback supremely confident, 'here to dominate the league'


New Raiders cornerback supremely confident, 'here to dominate the league'

Rashaan Melvin has the supreme confidence of a No. 1 cornerback, with none of the pedigree. Top cover men are often drafted high, paid well or both, with a steady ascent to elite status.

This undrafted talent bounced around the league without job security, trying and often failing to find NFL footing.

Melvin spent time with Tampa Bay, Miami, Baltimore, New England and Miami again before establishing himself in Indianapolis. The Colts gave him a real shot and he took advantage, evolving into the team’s top cornerback. Last year was Melvin’s best, but it didn’t provide a long-term contract despite a bull market for cover men.

Melvin signed a one-year, $6.5 million deal with the Raiders on Friday, the type of prove-it deal that could establish a big payday down this time next year. The 28-year old doesn’t consider that pressure. Melvin knowns another big year's on the way, one that proves he's an elite cornerback

"I’m here to dominate the league," Melvin said Friday in a conference call. "It might be time for some new faces at the cornerback position. That’s my take on that. I’m excited for it.”

Melvin wouldn’t trade his long road for a conventional path, and believes experience both good and bad has prepared him for a pivotal season.

“I’ve been cut four times,” Melvin said. “I’ve been in four different locker rooms, and I was able to gain my teammates’ trust, my coaches’ trust and the organization’s trust as well. My confidence just grows over time. There are not a lot of players that can say they’ve been cut four times and end up in a situation where I’m at today. Like I said, it’s perfect timing. My work ethic, my style of play and the way I approach the game and the way I approach my job, my business, it speaks for itself.”

Melvin’s work ethic is unquestioned. His reputation as a grinder is well documented, especially after establishing himself in Indianapolis. Commitment to a craft has created a player with consistent coverage and ball skills.

Melvin was excellent last year. According to Pro Football Focus, Melvin created an incomplete pass (combining passes defensed and interceptions) on 23.6 percent of his targets.

Passers had a 60.3 passer rating against him in 2017, with just 29 completions for 328 yards on 55 targets. The passer rating was 86.6 in 2016, his only other season as a regular starter.

The Raiders need that type of player on the outside. They’ve had inconsistent cornerback play (that’s being kind) in recent seasons, and are hoping Melvin provides stability at a key position. The Northern Illinois alum has loftier aspirations, individually and as the leader of a young position group.

“The goal is to be the best player I can be, first-team All-Pro,” Melvin said. “I’m going to show my leadership, help these young guys out this year. They have tons of potential to be successful in their own careers. For me coming in here and being the leader and showing that, hey, this is what it takes to be successful in this football league, that’s what I’m willing to do. That’s what I’m willing to bring to the table. On the football field, but outside as well.”

Paying $6.5 million for all that would be a bargain. Melvin’s the key acquisition in a secondary built around 2016 first-round safety Karl Joseph and 2017 first-round cornerback Gareon Conley. This secondary can be solid if those guys can realize potential and Melvin’s a true No. 1 cornerback.

He considers that title appropriate, and is ready to show he’s more that a one-year wonder. The Raiders have great confidence in Melvin, something clear after targeting him early in the free-agent process. Financing’s always a big factor, but Friday’s meeting with head coach Jon Gruden, defensive coordinator Paul Guenther and secondary coach Derrick Ansley convinced Melvin that Oakland’s a proper fit.

“I can relate to these guys,” Melvin said. “They have big plans for me, big plans for the organization. I was born to be a part of something special; that’s happening in Oakland. It was a good thing. We were able to get everything done, a deal done. I’m just excited to be here and I’m excited to see what the future holds for us as a team and me as a player.”

Raiders sign former 49ers defensive lineman


Raiders sign former 49ers defensive lineman

Update (3/17, 11:15 a.m.): The Raiders have officially signed former 49ers lineman Tank Carradine.


Raiders head coach Jon Gruden wanted veterans to help turn his defense around. He added a linebacker and defensive backs aplenty. Then, on Friday night, he gave the front some help.

Former 49ers defensive lineman Tank Carradine will sign with the Raiders, the 28-year old announced on his Instagram page. 

The Sacramento Bee first reported the news. 

He visited the Raiders on Thursday and was in Seattle earlier Friday, but will sign with the Silver and Black.

Carradine could help their transition to a more traditional 4-3 alignment, able to play end in the base defense. He has proven himself as a solid run defender, but believes he can be an effective pass rusher if given the opportunity.

Carradine didn’t get many pass-rushing chances with the 49ers, who generally removed him on passing downs. He has 5.5 sacks in four professional seasons. He played 37.9 percent of 49ers defensive snaps during eight games with the 49ers last season. He missed the same amount on short-term injured reserve with an ankle injury.

At 6-foot-4, 270 pounds, he has the size to be a 4-3 base end. He’ll likely have to battle Mario Edwards Jr. for snaps opposite Khalil Mack, though Bruce Irvin will take that spot in sub packages.

Carradine will be the 10th free-agent signing expected to make the roster, which means the roster turnover this summer should be significant. 

Here was his Instagram post from Friday night: 

Proud to become an Oakland Raider! Let's go #raiders#nation

A post shared by Tank Carradine (@tank.carradine) on