By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Tuesday, May 6th, 2008 at 4:57 pm in Oakland Raiders.
All that awaits Edgerton Hartwell’s addition to the Raiders linebacking corps is the official annoucement.
Hartwell excelled playing alongside Ray Lewis with the Baltimore Ravens from 2001 through 2004, cashing in with a six-year, $26 million contract with the Atlanta Falcons. He played in only 13 games before being released, the victim of an Achilles’ tendon tear in 2005.
He signed with the Cincinnati Bengals on May 3, 2007, but was released before the season started on Sept. 1.
The best case scenario is Hartwell stepping in as a strong side linebacker alongside middle linebacker Kirk Morrison and weakside linebacker Thomas Howard and giving some much-needed muscle on running downs, and coming off the field on passing downs.
At worst, the Raiders determine Hartwell, 30, can’t hold up physically and he fails to make the roster as Donovin Darius did last training camp. It’s a no-lose proposition.
He will get plenty of opportunities in what figures to be the most interest month of August since the team returned to Oakland in 1995.
The Raiders have finalized all their preseason dates _ they’ll host the San Francisco 49ers Aug. 8, visit the Tennessee Titans Aug. 15, host the Arizona Cardinals Aug. 23 and finish the preseason in Seattle on Aug. 29.
With JaMarcus Russell taking over as the starting quarterback, and the Raiders probably giving him extended time, as well as the addition of high-profile free agents such as Javon Walker, Gibil Wilson and DeAngelo Hall, plus the drafting of No. 4 overall pick Darren McFadden, even hard-core preseason cynics (guilty as charged) are curious.