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Raiders’ Reggie Nelson happy to be reunited with Jack Del Rio, says he’s `different dude’ from Jacksonville days

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Free safety Reggie Nelson is happy to be reunited with Jack Del Rio. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)

Free safety Reggie Nelson is happy to be reunited with Jack Del Rio. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)

ALAMEDA _ Reggie Nelson put to rest any thought that there was residual bitterness about the way he left the Jacksonville Jaguars when Jack Del Rio was the head coach.

Nelson, an unrestricted free agent safety who signed with the Raiders Thursday, was a first-round draft pick who lost his starting job in his third year in Jacksonville and was dealt to Cincinnati for cornerback David Jones _ who had been a Bengals waiver claim.

“I’m excited man. I was a different dude when they drafted me,” Nelson said in a conference call. “I’m a veteran now, wiser. I’m just excited to see what he’s got going on in Oakland and to be a part of that. I mean, I love Jack and always have. I’m excited to be reunited with him.”

The contract, according to NFL.com, was for two years and worth up to $16 million. Nelson becomes the third starting player added since the start of free agency along with cornerback Sean Smith and linebacker Bruce Irvin.

Nelson, who turns 33 in September, is coming off his best season with the Bengals, making his first Pro Bowl and intercepting eight passes. He will replace Charles Woodson, who retired following the season.

But rather than arrive as the wise old hand as Woodson did, Nelson comes to the Raiders believing he’s got a lot to learn.

“Trust me, you can’t replace Charles Woodson at all,” Nelson said. “the only thing I can be is Reggie and continue to play my game and get better. I can’t worry about filling (his) shoes because he had one heck of a career. You’re talking about a Hall of Famer.

“The only thing I can do is what Ken (Norton) and Jack ask me to do and play the game and continue to go get that ball.”

Getting the ball is something Nelson has done well over a nine-year career with 30 interceptions, 80 passes defensed, nine forced fumbles and five fumble recoveries.

What Nelson has in common with Woodson is that as a safety past the age of 30, he found there wasn’t a big market for his services despite a career year.

“I mean, I was shocked. I expected to be signed,” Nelson said. “But patience is a virtue. I was just being patient and waiting on the right time. After Oakland came and Jack was in Oakland, so I felt comfortable coming back with Jack.”

Nelson was enthused about playing for not only Del Rio, but Norton, the defensive coordinator, and defensive backs coaches Rod Woodson and Marcus Robertson, noting their years in the league as successful players.

“I’m just anxious to learn from these guys and keep learning,” Nelson said. “You always can learn something new to the game and some excitement that they can give, to give you that burst . . . I can’t wait to keep scratching with them to be a part of something.”

Nelson has started seven postseason games, something he hopes to continue with the Raiders.

“Reggie (McKenzie) and Mr. Davis have been doing a great job putting pieces of this puzzle together,” Nelson said. “I’m just excited I could be a piece of the puzzle that they have. They’re adding pieces like Sean Smith, Irvin, that’s just crazy, and that’s not even including the draft. I can’t wait to get going.”

The No. 21 overall pick out of Florida in 2007, Nelson played on a national championship team and was the winner of the Jack Tatum Award in 2006, given annually to the nation’s top defensive back.

Nelson had five interceptions as a rookie with Jacksonville and two in 2008. Nelson struggled in 2009, was criticized publicly by Del Rio at one point and benched for the final two games of the season before being traded to the Bengals.

 

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Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • Alex7!

    love the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and penultimate picks.

  • Guest123

    Combine and season stats

  • The Spring Wind is a Cub

  • R8erEduc8er

    How does this pancake eating mumbler do it??

  • RAY NJ

    Where are you in the picture?

  • R8erEduc8er

    Sorry, blog is married to the mock drafts.

  • RAY NJ

    Conklin or Dodd in the first

  • Thec

    Rankins, KEMDI, Butler…Pick one.

  • PC Raider

    New post

  • R8erEduc8er

    KEMDI

  • Alex7!

    is this golf where the lowest score wins?

  • R8erEduc8er

    How is this pancake eating, freckled mumbler doing it???

  • Thec

    Sure

  • RAY NJ

    I like that thinking.

  • BuckeyeRaider

    ‘Sup peoples.

    Dude on NFLN just cracked me up. Talking about Rams pre-season opener against Dallas. He said Rams trying to incubate a fan base that has been dormant for 20 years.

    He actually said right now there are probably as many Niner, Seahawk and Charger fans in LA as actual Rams fans…..ummhhh. Seems to me, there is one glaring omission. Was it intentional or not? That is the question.

    It has already been reported, or at least speculated..that Rams annual pre-season game vs Raiders was canceled because league didn’t want fledgling LA Ram franchise overwhelmed by a sea of Silver&Black in their own stadium.

  • SB3

    LOL

  • Skewlboy

    Pretty stupid if you ask me

  • Davy Jones

    And why did he wait until now to start???

  • R8erEduc8er

    Resources. Circumstances.

  • Ronin559

    Easier to predict in the 1st round vs the 5th. I love Von Bell but I dont think he is worth the 14th pick. I am pretty sure he will go in the 25-35 range. But I would be willing to use the 20th pick to draft him. Reaching 5 spots is not as bad as reaching 11. So If I could get Bell at 20 and add the 51th pick to go along with your 44th pick it is just a smart chess play.

  • BlasterCA

    Yep, people weren’t/aren’t really paying attention if they don’t know why we could only sign scrubs, stopgaps &/or has-beens the first 2 post-Al Davis years.

  • BlasterCA

    *Nelson becomes the third starting player added since the start of free agency along with cornerback Sean Smith and linebacker Bruce Irvin.*

    Forgetting Kelechi Osemele! [Or just gonna say you meant that we *technically* signed KO *before* free agency began? :-)]

  • BlasterCA

    & we’re nowhere near close enoufh for a draft *kill shot*. We’ve improved a lot the past 2 years, no doubt. But 2 good free agencies & drafts don’t make us *there* yet.

    Let’s see if the guys we signed are as good as the hype. Every year there’s plenty iof big name free agents who either don’t fit in withtheir new team or just aren’t as good as projected.

    Let’s see if our young draftees keep progressing. Plenty of players start off with a big splash only to fade away. I don’t think we have many young players that will fade away. But before we count these few draft classes as done deals & the upcoming one as more of the same, we need to see it on the field.

    Teams don’t make the playoffs in the offseason. So, right now, we’re better off assuming we’ve got a fair ways to go before we’re talking about selling off a big chunk of our future for a draft pick!

  • RaidingTexas

    I actually like Tulsa. I was being facetious. I have a bunch of family there. It’s my wife’s hometown, too. We go there all the time.

  • RaidingTexas

    Isn’t Indiana all corn-eating white trash?

  • RaiderReloader

    Raider looking like a football team makes it easier, these guys have choices

  • Raider Rocker

    Or maybe they meant the 3rd DEFENSIVE starter signed. Who knows? lol

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  • Caroldblack2

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  • Jacquelinezgingras1

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