NAPA _ Bruce Irvin has no hard feelings toward the team that essentially gave him his walking papers.
After all, when the Seattle Seahawks declined to exercise a fifth-year option on his rookie deal that would have paid $7.8 million, Irvin became an unrestricted free agent and signed a four-year contract with the Raiders that could pay as much as $37 million.
Truth be told, the Seahawks roster was loaded, and Irvin understood the economics of the move.
“You can’t pay everybody,” Irvin said following practice Sunday. “I knew it when they started paying Russell (Wilson) and Bobby (Wagner). Those guys deserved those deals, so I would never take that from them. Football has a salary cap and you can’t pay everybody.
“When you win a lot of games and (go to) Super bowls, guys are going to leave. I appreciate the opportunity Seattle gave me the last four years, but I’m in Oakland now and I couldn’t have been put in a better situation.”
It helped that the Raiders had Ken Norton Jr. on staff as defensive coordinator. Norton was Irvin’s linebackers coach in Seattle. So far, Irvin sees a similar enthusiasm and spirit with his new team.
“It’s pretty much the same,” Irvin said. “You look at Seattle, we weren’t always the Seattle team you see right now. We started as a bunch of young guys, like we are right here. As long as we work hard, continue to believe and play for each other, then I think we’re going to turn this thing around and be a pretty good team this year.”
One thing the Raiders have that Seattle does not is the presence of Khalil Mack, and Irvin thinks that will make him an even better player.
“I hope they put three or four people on him and just let me run free,” Irvin said. “I really think this was meant to be, to be teamed up with him. We’re going to push each other every day and we’re really going to make it happen this year.”