ALAMEDA -- At first glance, the Raiders signing a converted fullback/running back off Dallas' practice squad in Jamize Olawale would not make sense since Oakland already has a standout hybrid in Marcel Reece, Jeremy Stewart has played well and both Darren McFadden and Mike Goodson are expected to play Thursday.
But Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie has had his eye on Olawale for a while now, and the Raiders' philosophy is more about acquiring the best players available, in their eyes, rather than going for need. And really, with the problems facing Oakland, the Raiders can't address one specific need because they have so many needs.
Introducing Olawale, who was born in San Francisico, went to high school football powerhouses at St. Ignatius, De La Salle and Long Beach Poly and played two years of junior college ball at El Camino in Southern California, the same juco attended by Reece, before transferring to North Texas.
"Yeah, it was lovely to come back," Olawale said. "Lovely.”
The 6-foot-1 Olawale, who will wear No. 49, initially signed with the Cowboys as an undrafted free agent after catching eight passes for 88 yards for the Mean Green. He did not have a rushing attempt.
"That’s one thing my agent told me coming out, 'We’re going to market you as a Marcel Reece-type player,'" Olawale said. "I respect him. I have a tremendous amount of respect for him. He’s a great player from what Ive seen on film."
Said Raiders running back coach Kelly Skipper: "He's definitely got the same body type. But he ran around pretty good today. I've got to get a little bit more feel for him out there, but I was pleased with what I saw today…he did a little bit of everything (in college). He played a little tight end, fullback, tailback. So he's similar (to Reece), as far as a jack of all trades. I like his attitude. He works hard out there."
Olawale, high school teammates in Long Beach with Raiders practice squad receiver Travionte Session, said the Cowboys tried to promote him to their 53-man roster when Oakland showed interest.
"They said today they were going to move me up and today would have been too late, if I’d have waited until today," Olawale said. "My agent said that he didn’t know what they were trying to do. He said that first the Cowboys said that in the next four weeks they were going to bump me up for sure. Then when I told them I’m going to turn that down and come here, they said that they’ll move me up today.
"They were just trying to play games, I felt, so I came out here."