The Raiders have been busy this weekend. Per Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network, the club is signing linebacker Kyle Emanuel (Twitter link), and Rob Demovksy of ESPN.com tweets that the Raiders have signed running back Theo Riddick to a one-year pact.
Emanuel, 29, was selected by the division-rival Chargers in the fifth round of the 2015 draft, and he completed his four-year rookie pact with the team before announcing in April 2019 that he was retiring from the game. He appeared in 63 out of a possible 64 contests with the Bolts, including 33 starts, but he only topped 50% playing time once during that span. He was, however, a consistent force on special teams.
Before Emanuel stepped away, several teams were interested in his services (including the Raiders). He announced in March 2020 that he was coming out of retirement, and Pelissero says the North Dakota State product was again generating some attention on the open market. But Emanuel saw an opportunity to win in Vegas, so he put pen to paper with the Raiders.
He also likely saw an opportunity for playing time with the Silver-and-Black. The Raiders signed Nick Kwiatkoski and Cory Littleton this offseason, but Emanuel could theoretically push Nicholas Morrow and third-round rookie Tanner Muse for playing time on the weak side while showing off his ST acumen.
Riddick, who established himself as one of the league’s better receiving backs during his six-year stint with the Lions, also sat out the 2019 season, but that was due to injury, not retirement. Detroit released him last July, and the Broncos scooped him up shortly thereafter, but he suffered a shoulder fracture in the preseason that ultimately kept him sidelined for the entire campaign.
Though he has posted a mediocre 3.6 yards-per-carry average in his career, he has 285 career catches for 2,238 yards and 14 TDs. He will have a chance to reassert himself as a reliable pass catcher in Vegas behind RB1 Josh Jacobs.
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