The road that ultimately led former Pro Bowl right tackle Lincoln Kennedy to the Raiders was paved by foresight and an understanding of the importance of flexibility even at the expense of short-term financial gain.
The ninth overall pick in the 1993 draft by the Atlanta Falcons, Kennedy was uneasy from the get-go about his fit in head coach June Jones’ run-and-shoot offense. When it came time to negotiate his rookie contract, Kennedy and his agent structured the deal in a way that gave the former University of Washington star the flexibility to move on as quickly as possible if things didn’t work in Atlanta.
“My first contract was three years, $3 million,” Kennedy said. “We took less money because we needed the leverage to get out in case I didn’t like the run and shoot.”
Raiders quarterback Derek Carr on Tuesday compared rookie wide receiver Bryan Edwards to Carr’s former Fresno State teammate and current Packers’ star Davante Adams. On Friday one of Edwards’ high school coaches said he has long seen similarities to another perennial All-Pro.
“He’s always reminded me of A.J. Green,” said Conway (S.C.) head coach Carlton Terry, who was an assistant when Edwards played there and coached against Green in high school. “They both just have that ability to make plays at receiver and return punts. Just men on the field in comparison to the other players. Not only did they stand out vertically, but for big men to have that athleticism is just so rare.”
Edwards’ natural gifts were evident from the moment he walked into Conway High School as a 13-year-old freshman.
Raiders coach Jon Gruden on Thursday talked about the need to adapt every day to the practice availability of his players.
It went without saying he was referring to the potential impact of COVID-19, the constant shadow he and the Raiders will be operating under this year.
By late afternoon, that possibility became a reality when Raiders defensive end Maxx Crosby and running back Rod Smith were added to the COVID-19 injured reserve list.