Raiders have been going young with the players they have signed of late. The most recent was cornerback Tracy Porter who is just 26 years of age. But if you ask Porter, he considers his body to not be that of your typical 26 year old NFL player.
"I haven't really taken a lot of banging on my body through the years," said Porter in a media conference call on Wednesday. "I started playing football my 11th grade year in high school. Most guys they started playing football when they were like four or five so they been getting knocked around a lot longer than I have."
In just two seasons in high school football, he was recruited to Indiana University where he played well enough to then be selected in the second round of the 2008 draft by the Saints.
His body may not be wearing down based on actually football experience, but last season he suffered a seizure in late August which caused him to miss the first half of the season. Then late in the season he went out with a concussion which had him sidelined watching his Broncos teammates in the playoffs.
The Broncos had only signed Porter to a one-year deal and after missing him for much of the season as well as the playoffs, they didn't bring him back. Porter had hoped his one season in Denver would put him on track for a longer contract. Instead, it derailed as quickly as it started.
"It was tough. Being the competitor I am, I wanted to get back on the field once I was cleared and healthy but this is a business. Those guys, they played great, they played tremendous in my absence and they did feel comfortable with those guys on the field and that's just the nature of the business."
Porter is now looking for another fresh start (a recurring theme with Raiders free agent signings). Teams around the league had lingering concerns about how he would recover from the his concussion and seizure. Porter not only doesn't see it as a concern, he insists it is a good thing.
"I still have slight edge on guys in that aspect as well as I didn't play that much last year so my body had enough time to recover so I haven't taken a lot of hits on the body which is a plus for me... that allowed my body to heal from any nagging little nicks that I've had, little injuries that I've sustained... I feel brand new."
"I'm not even concerned with having another [seizure] because I've been cleared. I've been taking extra care of my body and I feel great, feel wonderful, and I'm just ready to embrace this opportunity to get my career back on track."
According to Porter, there was never a cause of his seizure discovered. He theorized that it could have been the altitude in Denver.
The Raiders are taking a risk in signing him. Much the same risk they did in signing their two starting corners last season - Ron Bartell and Shawntae Spencer. Those two signings backfired quickly as Bartell missed much of camp and both he and Spencer went out with injury by week two.
Speaking of not playing in a lot of games, Porter has never played an entire season in the NFL. In his five seasons in the NFL, he has missed 31 games and has played in more than 12 games in a season just once (2011 he played in 14). His has had a chronic knee issue that caused him to have surgery following the 2010 season.
He can sugar coat it all he wants but his signing presents real risk. It becomes the first truly risky one the Raiders have made this off-season.