Raiders Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Oakland Raiders

February 24, 2009
Big O's turn to be the main lead blocker

Oren O'Neal must be feeling better.

That's the best way to explain the Raiders decision to release fullback Justin Griffith. It's another nod to the Raiders commitment to developing its young players.

O'Neal was lost to a major knee injury during the preseason. If not for the injury, O'Neal might have eventually become the starting fullback.

Former coach Lane Kiffin indicated the injury could be career threatening, but O'Neal has been rehabbing at the team facility this offseason and believes he can play this season.

O'Neal was Kiffin's choice to finish off games because of his punishing blocking style -- think Raiders at Kansas City, 2007 -- and figures to be play a big role in the power-running style owner Al Davis wants to see more of.

*The Raiders also released tackle Kwame Harris in a move that was expected since last December.

Harris lost his job as the starting left tackle for repeated penalties and struggles in pass protection to Mario Henderson for the last three games of the season.

In all, the Raiders save $8.3 million against the 2009 salary cap with the moves. Harris was due a $6 million bonus.

Harris is the latest player from last year's group of free agents that have been dumped joining DeAngelo Hall, Gibril Wilson and Kalimba Edwards.

*There are a couple of reports that the Raiders will address their need for depth at wide receiver by re-signing Jerry Porter.

Porter was more than happy to get out of Oakland last year and was supposed to be a big pickup for Jacksonville.

Porter was dogged by injuries and released after just one season in which he made $7.5 million, but had only 11 catches for 181 yards and a touchdown.

Porter only had worse seasons as a rookie and in 2006 when he was stuck on the bench in a feud with coach Art Shell.

Porter was a second-round pick of the Raiders in 2000. His return would definitely qualify for the "Anything is Possible" file.

And yes, I'm ready for the "We hate Porter" emails.

--Jason Jones

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About Raiders Blog and Q&A

Matt Kawahara was born in Sacramento and attended McClatchy High School and UC Berkeley, where he wrote for the independent student paper The Daily Californian. He graduated from Cal in 2010 and started at The Sacramento Bee as a summer intern. He joined The Bee's sports staff in fall 2011.

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