No player ever wants to be waived or released. Especially when you’re still playing on your rookie contract. But sometimes it can be a blessing in disguise. Such was the case for David Amerson who early last season had worn out his welcome in Washington and was waived two games into the season only to be claimed by the Raiders and go on to have a breakout season.
"The situation that I was in in Washington was getting cloudy for me," Amerson said via conference call "so I think a new start definitely with an organization that was up on the rise and coming, young and hungry, it was definitely the best situation that I could’ve been in than I can see from any other team. It’s the perfect spot for me and I’m just glad to be here."
Being waived was served as a wake-up call for Amerson, a 2013 second round pick. He had to take a good hard look at what he could do to turn things around and change his career path.
"I think when you compare it to when I was in Washington, instead of going home and playing video games all night and stuff like that, it was a much different approach," Amerson continued. "I was going home and I was in my playbook or watching film or looking at my notes on whatever team we were playing that week. Just little stuff. . . it wasn’t rocket science, I knew what I had to do, it just clicked for me at a time when I was being released and coming here. I’m kinda glad it happened like that."
"Once I got here I matured. I came in the league, I was 21 years old still. Not saying I’m much older now, but three years from then to now, I’ve learned a lot in three years. I just think once I got here I was in the right place, in the right mindset, maturity level, just professionalism. I was really taking that transition of being a professional. I think it just worked out for the best."
But personal revelations weren’t enough. Joining the right organization with the right coaches and teammates is also crucial. These days the Raiders have been just that organization as other recent additions such as Michael Crabtree and Aldon Smith can attest. In Oakland Amerson found the right situation at the right time.
"Coming over here and being coached by coaches like Rod Woodson and MRob (Marcus Robertson) and coach [Ken] Norton and coach Jack Del Rio, all those guys played big in my development as a player. And definitely the scheme. Our scheme, I think especially last year our scheme was more ‘You know what we’re in, beat it’ type stuff. It really made you go out there and play fast and really play football. When I got here in the third game I barely knew the plays. We’re breaking the huddle and I’m asking guys what coverage is this or what do I got on this play, but I was still able to go out there and compete and play fast football. I think my point is it’s a little bit of all those things that played into the success of last year and I just want to improve off it."
The Raiders have made the commitment to him to give him a 4-year extension worth as much as $38 million prior to the final year on his contract which will keep in with the team for the next five years. That’s quite a vote of confidence for a player who has been part of the team for just ten months, starting 13 games.
He shares the Raiders’ confidence in his abilities. Finishing with the second most passes defended (29) last season helped with that. But his offseason thus far has cemented their belief that his season was not an anomaly.
"I knew once I got my opportunity to get back on the field, I just had to make the best of it. I really had to try to do something special to make my presence known, to get my name out there, and by the grace of God I was able to do it. It’s just a blessing that I got an organization that’s behind me and that supports me. It’s just a blessing."
"It was putting it all together. I figured out what works for me and how can I be the best professional that I can be. I’m not saying things are going to be perfect from here on out, you know you win some you lose some, but I just figured out how to put myself in the best position to be successful for my team, or give them the best David Amerson."