Raiders running back Maurice Jones-Drew announces retirement on Twitter

Raiders running back Maurice Jones-Drew, who struggled last season after arriving as a free agent, announced his retirement on Twitter Thursday.

Jones-Drew, the former De La Salle High School, UCLA and Jacksonville Jaguars start, posted the following statement:

“After much discussion with my family and business team during the offseason, I’ve decided to retire from the National Football League. The past 9 years were absolutely amazing! I’ll be forever grateful to the countless people who assisted me throughout my NFL journey.To my fans and NFL fans world wide, you are the absolute greatest. But for you, our league would not exist. Football has been a central part of my life for the past 24 years. But, now I’m excited about looking forward to the next chapter in my life.”

Jones-Drew averaged only 2.2 yards per carry in 2014. He was originally the starting running back over Darren McFadden but needed to have surgery on his hand and never played to the form he or the Raiders had hoped.

Raiders coach Jack Del Rio said he was willing to give Jones-Drew a look this offseason, but conceded he needed “to see that old burst.”

Jones-Drew was scheduled to make $2.4 million in salary in 2015 and his retirement clears an additional $2.5 million under the salary cap. Combined with Thursday’s announcement that defensive end LaMarr Woodley had been waived, the Raiders cleared $7.68 million under the cap.

In nine seasons, Jones-Drew gained 8,167 yards and averaged 4.4 yards per carry. His 81 touchdowns (68 rushing, 11 receiving, two on kickoff returns) were a franchise record in Jacksonville, where his 8,071 yards on the ground were second in franchise history to Fred Taylor’s 11,271 yards.

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Raiders announce release of defensive end LaMarr Woodley

Defensive end LaMarr Woodley, who was ineffective in six games before being lost for the season to a torn triceps, was released Thursday by the Raiders.

Woodley’s release had been anticipated for the past week. He was due a $1.5 million roster bonus on March 14 and $3.85 million in salary in 2015. His release clears $5.187 million in salary cap space, and combined with Thursday’s retirement of Maurice Jones-Drew, gives the Raiders $7.687 million in additional space heading into free agency next week.

An outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense in Pittsburgh, Woodley attempt to convert to a 4-3 defensive end in Oakland. He made five starts and played in six games as a right end and made just 11 tackles with one pass defensed and n o sacks before going on injured reserve with a torn triceps.

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