Whenever Aldon returns, Raiders will be 'happy to get our brother back'

Whenever Aldon returns, Raiders will be 'happy to get our brother back'

ALAMEDA – A pair of videos were posted Wednesday featuring Raiders edge rusher Aldon Smith. The first was a workout montage filmed during a private session in San Francisco. The second was a short interview where Smith talked about positive results coming from hard work and saying he “won’t be defeated” by adversity.

A rare Smith cameo came on the eve of his eligibility for reinstatement following a calendar year banished for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy.

Raiders quarterback Derek Carr wasn’t sure what to make of it. He tweeted at Aldon Smith Wednesday night, saying “almost time brother! Can’t wait until you’re back!”

Smith wasn’t back on the first day eligible to return. There is no timetable for NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to rule on his application for reinstatement, which was filed last month. It could come at any time from now on, assuming Goodell views Smith’s application favorably.

Raiders officials aren’t allowed to have contact with Smith during this down period, though players can reach out. Carr has done so recently.

“I’ve talked back and forth to him as a friend, texted him,” quarterback Derek Carr said before Thursday’s practice. “To be completely honest, nothing about football. I tweeted him yesterday because he posted that video and I was excited. I was like, ‘Man, is he telling us something?’ I don’t know. Whenever we get him back, we’ll be happy to get our brother back.”

Head coach Jack Del Rio said last week the Raiders are in wait-and-see mode regarding a possible Smith return. On Thursday, he said “nothing has changed” in that regard.

Smith played nine games with the Raiders last season before the league took punitive action against him for multiple violations of the NFL substance abuse policy. That stemmed from his latest run-in with the law, an Aug. 2015 incident which brought about misdemeanor chargers of DUI, hit and run and vandalism.

Raiders' slow-playing decision on Marshawn Lynch, likely after NFL draft

Raiders' slow-playing decision on Marshawn Lynch, likely after NFL draft

PHOENIX -- Marshawn Lynch isn’t a mortal lock to return to the Raiders next season. There’s certainly interest from both sides in playing another year together, but no reunion has been set.

That isn’t expected until after the NFL draft, as the Raiders continue to weigh options to fill their big void on the roster.

“We have a need at halfback, at feature back,” Raiders head coach Jon Gruden said Tuesday morning at the NFL owners meeting. “We’re going to keep the door open for Marshawn, certainly. We’re going to keep researching his situation and we’ll see what happens.”

There’s some clarity on Lynch’s situation. He is healthy and cleared to play again, after suffering a groin injury in last season’s Week 6 loss to Seattle.

Lynch was his elusive, violent self before the injury, arguably the best Raiders skill player all season. He’ll be 33 next month but has shown an ability to run well at an age where most runners fall off. He could be an asset to the Raiders even if he isn’t getting 20 touches a game. He could be an asset to the Raiders even if they draft a running back of the future relatively high in the NFL draft.

“We’re looking for a three-down back, a guy who can play in any situation,” Gruden said. “That’s a guy who can catch it, pick up blitzes and a guy who can run in the first and the fourth quarter. We’re looking for guys with some durability and versatility. That’s a big thing. They’re hard to find. You have to have a certain size about you. You have to take punishment and deliver punishment. Those are the big things we look for.”

Lynch can do all of those things, and ease the transition to a younger runner. The Raiders expect Jalen Richard back on a second-round restricted free agent contract tender. He’ll have a role. Chris Warren’s an intriguing prospect who shined in the summer before missing the season with a knee issue.

The Raiders sent running backs coach Kirby Wilson to Alabama’s pro day to scout top prospects Josh Jacobs and Damien Harris. The Raiders are turning over every rock looking for stability at the running back spot.

Lynch is a player who can produce and put butts in the seats during a farewell season in Oakland hometown. Lynch is immensely popular in the East Bay for his charitable work, especially with children, and champions Oakland at every turn.

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Owner Mark Davis is a big fan. Jon Gruden always has been. So are many owners of the No. 24 jersey. Bringing Lynch back for one more season in Oakland – I can’t imagine a scenario where he’d be a Las Vegas Raiders – remains an option as the offseason progresses. It just hasn’t been exercised yet.

“The door’s always going to be open for Marshawn Lynch,” Gruden said. “All the doors are always going to be open for him.”

NFL free agency: Raiders sign ex-Steelers backup QB Landry Jones


NFL free agency: Raiders sign ex-Steelers backup QB Landry Jones

A familiar face will join Antonio Brown in the Raiders' locker room, as their quarterback room just got more crowded. 

The Raiders signed former Pittsburgh Steelers QB Landry Jones on Tuesday. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. 

Jones played with Brown in Pittsburgh from 2013 to 2017. On Nov. 8, 2015, Jones and Brown even connected on a game-winning drive against the Raiders.  

Jones, who turns 30 on April 4, is one of four QBs on the Raiders roster. Last week, the Silver and Black signed Mike Glennon just over a week after cutting 2018 backup AJ McCarron. The Raiders say they're all-in on starter Derek Carr, but have meetings scheduled with some of the NFL draft's top quarterback prospects. 

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Still, it's worth noting that the Raiders only kept two QBs on the active roster last season. Nathan Peterman spent time on the practice squad down the stretch, and he signed a reserve-futures contract with the team in January. 

In other words, Carr figures to be the only lock to make the roster in 2019. If the Raiders draft another quarterback, it's possible the Jones/Glennon/Peterman era ends rather quickly.