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Rashad Jennings says fits "hard nosed" attitude in Oakland, laments dirt infield

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Thearon W. Henderson

Raiders soon-to-be free agent running back Rashad Jennings is in New York this weekend for the Super Bowl festivities. He sat down with Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk where he had some interesting things to say about his performance, playing in Oakland, and the Raiders coaching staff.

If you know Jennings, he works about as hard as any NFL player you can imagine. He is never content to rest on his laurels which has made him into the running back he is. He had a great season for the Raiders in 2013, taking over as the lead back by midseason and racking up over 1000 yards from scrimmage.

"As far as a grade, I'd give myself a passing grade, but it's not 100%." Said Jennings. "As far as being satisfied, I kinda throw that on the verge of being content so I'll never be satisfied, but to continue to make sure I'm growing as a professional."

He would like to stay with the Raiders because his style of play and attitude meshes with that of the current Raiders.

"Being there, being in the locker room, being a part of that organization, knowing where they're going, knowing who they're bringing back, knowing what they're trying to get done, I fit that mold," Jennings continued. "I fit that grid iron, hardnosed, I want to play physical mentality. It was a great fit for me this year to get the opportunity to show that's the kind of back I am."

Whether he returns to the Raiders is not for certain. It will depend on their level of interest compared to the interest of other teams in the NFL.

"I'm going into the market March 11th and I really want to be back in Oakland." Said Jennings. "It's not really up to me. I know playing in the National Football League you're proving your right every single year, you're putting your resume on tape and I'm hoping I'm doing enough to let the NFL know that I'm capable of carrying the load the entire season."

One thing that works in the Raiders favor as far as holding onto free agents like Jennings is the coaching staff returning this season.

"Continuity. That's something that we spoke about heavily during the season. If you don't have that, if you don't have the chemistry and consistency with the guys beside you, molding into that system... you know, blowing up and re-starting is not the answer, especially with the guys that's set in that organization right now."

One thing he is not crazy about is the dirt infield for the first part of the season at Oakland Coliseum. The experience of being tackled on that dirt is not a pleasant one for Jennings.

"Aw man, with the dirt, it's the worst." Said Jennings. "It's dirt. It's literally dirt. . . it reminds me of being a little kid. . . but just as much as we don't want to be on it, the defense don't either. So, you see the linebackers kind of putting their feet a little different in the dirt trying to get stable taking a tackle."

Along with his play at the running back position, Jennings had two blocked punts this season and nearly had a third. He gave up his secret for getting in the backfield to harass the punters.

"I study," said Jennings. "That was a big deal for me, playing special teams. Just coming in as a rookie, you gotta earn your keep. And I remember I would go out - I still do - every single game the long snapper and the punter will always go out early and practice. And every single long snapper in the NFL I've seen has a very consistent way that they snap the ball. Some put their left hand down, look right, look left, snap. Others look under twice, snap. There's always consistency, so if you study it, get a tendency, and if it's fourth and six and beyond, I'm jumping it."

The final bit he handed out was who he wants to win the Super Bowl and his answer may surprise you. He wants the Broncos to win. Once he gives his reason for that pick, it might make sense to even Raiders fans.

"Peyton Manning, he's phenomenal. He's an offensive coordinator that can throw a football. That's pretty good. I do wanna see him go out on top like he deserves so if winning a Super Bowl will help him retire, I want him to win. I want him to go into commentating or something."

That's a possible bright side Raiders fans could enjoy. While it would be great to see the Broncos lose, if they win and it ushers Peyton into retirement, it would offer some shred of good news, right? Nah, I didn't think so.