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Paul Guenther on George Iloka: I’m evaluating guys we have at safety

Bengals Cowboys Football

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Allen Hurns (17) makes a catch in front of Cincinnati Bengals defensive back George Iloka (43) during the first half of a preseason NFL football game in Arlington, Texas, Saturday, Aug. 18, 2018. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)


After safety George Iloka was released by the Bengals last Sunday, a report indicated that the Raiders would make a play to sign him.

The Raiders have signed plenty of veterans in Jon Gruden’s first offseason back with the team and Iloka would seem to fit given his long working relationship with Raiders defensive coordinator Paul Guenther. Guenther had the same job with the Bengals before moving to Oakland this offseason.

On Tuesday, Guenther said he was “kind of surprised” by Iloka’s release because the safety was a steady player who knew the defense “inside and out.” Guenther didn’t touch on potential interest in bringing Iloka to the Raiders beyond saying he liked the current safety group.

“I’ve been really kind of concentrating on getting ready for this ballgame and really evaluating guys we have at safety,” Guenther said, via the East Bay Times. “I like our safety group. We’ve got a lot of different kind of abilities back there, guys who can cover, guys who can hit and play the middle of the field. So I’m really focused on getting those guys better.”

Karl Joseph, Reggie Nelson, Marchus Gilchrist, Erik Harris and Obi Melifonwu are among the players Guenther will be evaluating this week. Should their efforts in practice or Friday’s game against the Packers be found lacking, Iloka’s name will likely remain linked to the Raiders.