Thin on linebacker, Raiders sign veteran Perry Riley

Thin on linebacker, Raiders sign veteran Perry Riley

ALAMEDA -- The Raiders signed veteran inside linebacker Perry Riley on Tuesday afternoon, added experienced depth to a position group that is razor thin.

Riley provides help, and the Raiders are going to need it.

They put Ben Heeney on injured reserve, which ends his season. Malcolm Smith is also banged up with a groin injury, though his playing status remains uncertain.

Cory James and Daren Bates were the only healthy bodies at the two interior linebacker spots, and Riley makes three.

The 28-year old played for Washington from 2010-15, but suffered a complicated foot injury last November that took two surgeries to get right. He was released just before the season started.

Riley’s phone was ringing this past month, but he wanted to wait for the right fit and value – certainly more than the veteran minimum -- before signing with his second NFL team.

“I had a lot of interest, but I felt like I was worth more than that,” Riley said. “I’m 28, and still have a lot of good football left in me. It’s unfortunate that I came off a serious injury that took more time, especially with an extra surgery, to heal than I planned and things went downhill.

“That said, I know I’m ready and I think I can help this team win.”

Riley has 63 starts in 79 games played, and led Washington in tackles in 2013. He had 43 tackles and two interceptions last season, before missing the final four games and a playoff contest in 2015.

Riley has a connection with someone in the locker room. He grew up with Raiders edge rusher Bruce Irvin in Atlanta; they were good friends and high school teammates. That should make the transition easier, and also couldn’t have hurt to have Irvin vouch for him.

“When my agent called and said it was the Raiders, I knew I was all in,” Riley said. “Bruce was there and the numbers were adding up right, so here I am.”

Riley says he plays the run well, and has better athleticism and speed in coverage than his critics think. That would certainly help the Raiders, who are somewhat lacking in that area.

Heeney was expected to play every snap at middle linebacker, but fell behind James a few games into the season. He struggled some early on and missed too many tackles for the Raiders’ liking.

His season came to a close with an ankle injury in Sunday’s victory over Baltimore. It’s expected to require surgical repair. He will have two years remaining on his rookie contract.

Rashaan Melvin says he cheated Raiders fans during season with the team


Rashaan Melvin says he cheated Raiders fans during season with the team

Rashaan Melvin said his goodbyes to the Raiders after the Lions announced a deal that would bring the cornerback to the team.

But Melvin's farewell to the Silver and Black was a bit of a sad one. Melvin said he felt as though he cheated the fans:

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Im thankful for every opportunity God has placed in my life. We all must go through some things to get to what is actually meant for us. I greatly appreciate the Oakland organization for giving me the opportunity to further my career this past season. I respect the raiders organization, I respect the tradition, and I respect the die hard fans that has and will forever believe in raider nation. I feel like I cheated the fans, and organization, and a long list of players that came before me that made the organization what it is. It was always a life time dream of mine to wear the silver and black. It really hurt me that I wasn’t able to be myself, and play the style of play that I know I was capable of playing. To all my guys in that locker room I appreciate you guys for making the year special through everything. I cherish the relationships that were created on and off the field. I respect you guys, and I wish you boy’s the best!! Y’all ball out for the City of Oakland 1 more time or for however long y’all there! Respect!! #22 #raidernation ✊🏾✊🏾

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This, of course, appeared to be more of him not feeling as though he played to his potential. Playing for the Raiders had been a dream of his.

Melvin only started in seven games last season which could be partly why he's feeling the way he's feeling. 

"To all my guys in the locker room, I appreciate you guys for making the year special through everything."

'Stop playing:' Raiders wide receiver Antonio Brown takes jab at Bills

'Stop playing:' Raiders wide receiver Antonio Brown takes jab at Bills

Antonio Brown is now a member of the Raiders -- which means he is not going to play for the Bills despite some strange rumors he would be Buffalo-bound.

So, naturally, Brown made sure to put a reaction on Instagram to double-down on this:

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Stop playing #FakeNews #Historical

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"Stop playing."

This is in addition to him saying it was "Fake news" at the beginning of the month: 

And anything sports-related and bring Drake into the mix is very much appreciated.

It appears Brown is more than happy with his decision to sport silver and black.