Carr, Mack among seven Raiders selected to Pro Bowl

Carr, Mack among seven Raiders selected to Pro Bowl

ALAMEDA – The Raiders hope none of their players participate in the Pro Bowl. That would mean they’re competing for an NFL championship the following week.

Should they fall short, the Silver and Black will be well represented in the NFL’s annual All-Star game.

The Raiders had seven players elected to the Pro Bowl, the NFL announced on Tuesday evening, the team’s highest total since 1991.

The list is long and well deserved, including three-fifths of the offensive line, quarterback Derek Carr and edge rusher Khalil Mack.

Left tackle Donald Penn, left guard Kelechi Osemele and center Rodney Hudson made it from the AFC’s best offensive line. Receiver Amari Cooper and safety Reggie Nelson were also elected.

The Pro Bowl will be played Jan. 29, 2017 in Orlando – a week before the Super Bowl -- and culminate a week of festivities honoring the league’s top players. After choosing sides with a school-yard pick ‘em, the AFC and NFC will square off in a game that is typically light on defense.

The Raiders were represented by six players in last year’s game, but Khalil Mack, Charles Woodson and Marcel Reece were the trio elected on the first ballot. Carr, Cooper and running back Latavius Murray were added as alternates.

These types of rewards typically go to good teams, and the Raiders have been one of the best during an 11-3 record with two games remaining.

Their offensive line and skill players have garnered great respect. Carr is an MVP contender and Mack is among the favorites for NFL Defensive Player of the Year.

This is Penn’s second Pro Bowl nod and Osemele’s first. Osemele and Penn have been virtually impenetrable on the left side. Osemele's reputation as an intimidator has grown this season, his first as a Raider, and he is widely considered among the NFL’s best offensive guards. Hudson has been a quality center all season. 

Cooper has exceeded 1,000 yards already and Nelson has four interceptions this year. 

Neiron Ball, Raiders 2015 draft pick, in a coma after brain aneurysm


Neiron Ball, Raiders 2015 draft pick, in a coma after brain aneurysm

Raider Nation has a heavy heart at the moment.

Former linebacker Neiron Ball, Oakland's fifth-round pick in 2015 out of Florida, suffered a brain aneurysm on Sept. 16 and is currently in a medically induced coma. He is not responding to stimuli. The Raiders sent out a tweet Tuesday asking for thoughts and prayers for the 26-year-old.

News of Ball's situation was first made public by people that run the Facebook page for his old school district in Georgia. Ball attended Jackson High School in the Butts County School System.

According to the Orlando Sentinel, in 2011 while at Florida, Ball was diagnosed with arteriovenous malformation, "a tangling of blood vessels." Surgery to alleviate the issue cost him the 2011 season.

"I can't really explain it," Ball told the Orlando Sentinel in 2012. "The closest thing I can think is somebody just smushing my brain...Like somebody was squeezing my brain."

Ball appeared in six games his rookie season with the Raiders, recording four tackles and one sack. A knee injury forced the Raiders to place him on injured reserve.

Report: Raiders to sign new kicker Matt McCrane

Report: Raiders to sign new kicker Matt McCrane

Mike Nugent is dealing with a hip injury suffered in a loss to Miami, which forced the Raiders to work out several kickers Tuesday morning. The Silver and Black have chosen to sign undrafted rookie Matt McCrane, according to NFL Network.

McCrane spent the summer with the Arizona Cardinals and played college ball at Kansas State. He was 4-for-4 on field goals in the preseason, including two from beyond 50 yards. 

While the team hasn't announced his addition, McCrane has already added "kicker for Oakland Raiders" on his Twitter profile. The account, however, is not verified. 

Raiders head coach Jon Gruden didn't formally rule Nugent out of Sunday's game against Cleveland, but his hip injury is of concern. Nugent has been solid since assuming the kicking job this regular season. He was 6-for-6 on field goal attempts, including two conversions from 50-plus yards. 

The Raiders worked out McCrane, 2017 kicker Giorgio Tavecchio, among others on Tuesday. Tavecchio was released early in camp for Nugent, who was expected to be Eddy Pineiro's mentor during the preseason. Pineiro suffered a groin injury at the end of training camp and was placed on season-ending injured reserve.