The Oakland Raiders have signed free agent Dave Tollefson. The free agent has been a member of two Super Bowl teams in New York with the Giants. But five years ago the Raiders had their hands on him first and let him go. Well, technically the Packers had their hands on him very first as they drafted him in the seventh round in 2006 out of Northwest Missouri State.
But even before all that, the Raiders had him right in their own backyard. Tollefson was born and raised in nearby Walnut Creek where he attended Ygnacio Valley High School in Concord. He then went on to play two years at Los Medanos College in nearby Pittsburg California.
From there, he received a scholarship to play defensive end for Fresno State. But due to a rash of injuries, he missed all three seasons there. From that point, he would be taken farther and farther from home.
He would go from there to Northwest Missouri State, then drafted by the Packers. He thought he would be coming back home when the Raiders signed him off the Packers practice squad in 2007 but after playing in NFL Europe on a futures contract, he didn't make the final roster cuts and was placed on the team's practice squad.
The Giants then swooped in and signed him off the Raiders practice squad and he has spent his entire 5 year career in New York. His football career started not 20 miles from home and has taken him to Fresno (CA), Missouri, Wisconsin, Germany and New York. All to bring him back home to the Bay Area where it all began.
He didn't start a single game his first four seasons in New York but he was considered a key reserve. With just two starts in 2011, he had his best season with 5.0 sacks and 19 tackles playing in all 16 games and helping the Giants earn a playoff spot where they would go on to win the Super Bowl for the second time during his stint with the team.
The Raiders had some competition to sign him including the Packers who were apparently poised to offer him a deal prior to his heading to Oakland to speak with the Raiders. Tollefson also visited the Titans but the prospect of getting to play in his native Bay Area was too good for him to pass up.
Welcome home, Dave.