Oakland Raiders wide receiver Derek Hagan at Raiders practice in Alameda (photo by Levi Damien)
Derek Hagan took the Raiders practice field today a day after the team signed him as a free agent. He is familiar with this field, he spent about two months on it last season before the team released him. They let him go so they could sign TJ Houshmandzadeh and give Carson Palmer a familiar face among his receivers.
For Hagan, being released came as a shock to him.
"It's just one of those things that obviously I can't control," said Hagan. That stuff happens, I'm definitely not the first guy to get cut and I'm not the last. It's happened to thousands of guys before me. It's just one of those things you gotta deal with and you gotta move on. For myself I just told myself you gotta keep working because you never know what could happen and that happened but you just gotta move on and learn from it and hopefully the next place you go, things will be different."
That next place turned out to be the Bills who signed him for the final four games of last season. But come time for final cuts this year, Hagan was caught off guard again when he was cut.
"Definitely surprised up there too. Like I said, sometimes you just never know. It's just one of those things that sometimes it can be a numbers game and they wanna take a look at different guys and a situation like that I just can't let it get to me. I just gotta keep working. I've been cut before and I know what goes on and I just gotta try to keep and straight line and keep working and just go from there."
Things worked out for the best for Hagan. But according to him, that's not really an accident. He was worked out by the Jets after he was released by the Bills because Raiders former wide receivers coach is there now. And the impressions he leaves with his previous teams and coaches has earned him work outs.
"I think just me personally, I'm just a worker. I'm quiet, I don't do a lot of talking, I just come in and work. This coaching staff, the guys who are still here from last year, they seen how I worked in training camp, throughout preseason, and throughout the season. Sometimes if you get let go, you just leave a good last impression and I think that's what I did and I was able to come back and come out here and work out on this turf and put on a good show so, I'm definitely happy with what I did, I'm happy to be here, and definitely ready to contribute."
"I'm happy to be back, that's for sure but I'm not surprised. I figured something good would happen and here I am."
In fact, it couldn't have worked out better for Hagan. As he explains it, there is nowhere he'd rather be than with the Raiders.
"Obviously being a Raider and being a Raider fan, there's a lot of tradition and history putting this jersey on. Just myself growing up in Southern California, just growing up being a Raider fan, whether they was out here in Oakland or in LA, that's what I grew up with. I didn't like the Rams, I didn't like the Chargers. It was just strictly Raiders. My dad taking me to Raiders games and just to be able to be back and put it back on, you know, I'm definitely thankfully and happy, happy to be here."
The Raiders are happy to have him too. With the injuries to the receiving corps, he could get some extended work pretty soon.