The newest Raider is five-time Pro Bowler, Andre Gurode. However, this 10-year NFL veteran in a few seasons removed from his Pro Bowl ways. Now he's hoping to show the Raiders and the rest of the NFL that at 35-years-old, he still has something left in the tank.
He was signed on Friday after working out for the team and attended his first camp practice today.
Gurode was wearing the number 72 and working primarily as the back up at left guard. However, the former Pro Bowl center also played center as well as a bit of right guard at times. He is looking to get in where he fits in but that doesn't mean he plans on just hanging around.
"I'm here to play whatever role the team puts me in but I'm also here to compete," said Gurode. "I think I can add a lot of value and a lot of leadership to the team. I'm not a guy that just wants to come and occupy a spot. I wanna come in and compete and make my presence known. Whatever way they need me, I'm here.
"I'm not a guy that just signs on to just to do it, I got plenty left in the tank. I actually feel better now than I felt three years ago, which is crazy... I can't understand it. I guess when you get time to rest and your body gets a chance to heal, you never know what your body's gonna do."
It is a bit crazy to think he could be back to his performance level of three years ago because three years ago he was still a Pro Bowl player. But it went downhill fast from there.
"I had a couple surgeries back to back. Wear and tear. That's all. When you have a surgery and you're trying to build muscle and then have another surgery without giving your body time to heal and catch up."
He has experience at both guard and center in his career. He played guard the first three seasons of his career prior to being moved to center midway through his fourth year in the league and the next season he started a run of five consecutive Pro Bowl nods.
It was Tony Sparano who moved Gurode to center in the first place. During Sparano's first season as the offensive line coach, he put Gurode at center. Now it comes as little surprise it was Sparano's new team who brings Gurode into the fold when no other team was interested. The Raiders were the only team this off-season to even invite him in for a workout.
He didn't play a snap at any position last season but he had no intentions of that being his swan song.
"I was planning on playing the whole time," said Gurode. "I got to the Chicago Bears organization last year later in the season. Was in practice, was in shape, getting ready to go in the game and they had some injuries and unfortunately I was unable to get on the field. Through the off-season, being diligent, staying in shape, working out, going to church quite frequently because your faith gets tested, just stay ready. I said I think the call was going to come and it did."
"I went to workouts last year before I went to Chicago but coming up this year I haven't done anything but work out at Michael Johnson's performance and stay in shape and be ready for a call to come through."
His versatility, leadership, and experience will all be valuable for this team in training camp. And with few positions settled, interior offensive line among them, the competition he brings is a welcome addition.
"Hey, all I know is I want to contribute and be on this team," said Gurode. "There are plenty of players out there that still can play that haven't latched onto a team yet. And you just have to wait for your opportunity and when it comes, you have to take advantage of it."