Raiders teammates supportive of Crabtree, Talib issue ‘a respect thing’


Raiders teammates supportive of Crabtree, Talib issue ‘a respect thing’

ALAMEDA – The Raiders will certainly miss receiver Michael Crabtree during his one-game suspension. Teammates understand why he’s gone.

Denver cornerback Aqib Talib snatched Crabtree’s chain Sunday for the second time in as many meetings, which led to a massive brawl early in a 21-14 victory over Denver. That produced ejections for both players and two-game suspensions halved on appeal. It was a messy situation. Light years from ideal. Maybe, though, a necessary evil.

“They have history that you have to understand,” tight end Jared Cook said. “Nobody’s tripping on it around here.”

Crabtree didn’t retaliate in the 2016 regular-season finale, when Talib snatched his chain without provocation. Talib wasn’t penalized, fined or suspended for the offense, which he bragged about after that game.

Crabtree retaliated this time when Talib broke his chain, and things got messy. Crabtree blocked Talib to the ground on the Denver sideline, and several Broncos jumped him at the same time. Then Crabtree’s helmet was taken off and thrown back at him. The pair swung wildly at each other.

Despite such a messy scene, teammates understand Crabtree’s decision to push back.

“I understand that we’re in a unique position, that we’re on the football field in front of millions of people or whatever and you have to handle yourself accordingly,” Raiders cornerback David Amerson said. “At some point, it becomes about a respect thing. I’m pretty sure he was tired of people making jokes about the (last) chain snatch, and this and that. Of course, you want to be a team guy, and Mike is a team guy, but I understand everything about how he felt. Not saying I would encourage it, but I understand it. Any man can understand that situation.”

The location doesn’t change the emotion felt when someone takes or ruins something that belongs to you.

“If you haven’t had somebody take something from you, then you don’t understand,” cornerback Sean Smith said. “Especially (if it’s) a stranger. There’s no way to explain (that feeling).”

There is something unique, Amerson says, about a chain or piece of jewelry.

“A chain around your neck is something you work hard for, something that costs a lot of money,” Amerson said. “It’s something that you value. Somebody coming to snatch that off your neck is like taking your manhood or something that you really value or care about. It’s a sticky situation.”

It’s a situation the locker room considers in the past. Crabtree will return to it next week, in time to play the AFC West rival Kansas City Chiefs.

“What’s done is done. What happened, happened,” Amerson said. “Everybody has seen it. Regardless of how you may feel, I feel like that was something that was probably going to happen after what’s gone on over the years. As a team, we have to move on. We have players ready to step up and their places. …We’ll be all right. The team has his back. We’ll always have Mike’s back. We’re going to move on.”

Raiders to sign former 49ers defensive lineman


Raiders to sign former 49ers defensive lineman

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 Cornellius Smith (@tank.carradine) on

Adding Rashaan Melvin the key move to Raiders' revamped secondary


Adding Rashaan Melvin the key move to Raiders' revamped secondary

The Raiders started this offseason looking to revamp their secondary around their last two first-round picks. Gareon Conley would start at one cornerback spot. Karl Joseph was penned at strong safety.

Every other job, however, was wide open and likely filled from the outside.

Safety Marcus Gilchrist came aboard Thursday, but one premium spot remained open opposite Conley. Veteran cornerback Rashaan Melvin took it Friday afternoon, agreeing on terms of a one-year $6.5 million contract.

NFL Network broke the news of a bargain compared to other cornerback free-agent deals. They aren’t attached to him long term, and Melvin can sign a bigger deal if he plays well in 2018.

The Raiders declared interest in the former Indianapolis cornerback early this week and worked toward an agreement sealed during a Friday morning visit at the team’s Alameda practice facility.

The 28-year old’s fresh off a career year, allowing just 29 receptions for 328 yards and two touchdowns on 55 targets in 2017. He had three interceptions and 13 passes defensed. Quarterbacks had a paltry 60.3 passer rating against him.

Melvin stands 6-foot-2, 196 pounds and has the athleticism to excel in Raiders defensive coordinator Paul Guenther’s system.

Melvin bounced around before settling with the Colts, struggling to find footing in Tampa Bay, Baltimore New England and two offseason programs in Miami. He found a home in Indianapolis, and became a regular starter in 2016. His breakout 2017 season was cut short by a hand injury that kept him out the last five games.

Melvin projects to start right away. The Raiders will be thrilled if he stays healthy and retains recent form. Melvin has solid ball skills, regularly forces incompletions and thrived in tough assignments that came with being the Colts’ top cornerback.

Gilchrist’s addition, Melvin’s deal and the Friday addition of Shareece Wright fills a cupboard in the defensive backfield laid bare by design.

The Raiders cut David Amerson and now-jailed Sean Smith this offseason. TJ Carrie took a big deal in Cleveland. Reggie Nelson’s allowed to walk as a free agent.

The Raiders added three free agents to the group thus far, and could well draft another defensive back next month.

They’ll have safety Obi Melifonwu in reserve – he’ll have to earn a role after missing most of 2017 with injury – and cornerbacks Antonio Hamilton and Dexter McDonald vying for spots.

Melvin will be plenty motivated to have a big year and cash in at age 29, for what might be his last shot at a big payday.