The status and whereabouts of Reggie Nelson since he signed with the Raiders this offseason has been a bit of a mystery. Jack Del Rio said the team had full attendance in OTA’s and minicamp which means Nelson was at least at the facility, even though he never showed his face on the practice field.
What exactly has been Nelson’s situation is still unknown. He said Thursday only "I was just dealing with some issues and I’m here."
He also hinted that perhaps his ‘issues’ may not be injury related, insisting "I’ve been 100%. You just haven’t seen me."
Earlier this week, Nelson attended the pre-camp warm-up with the rookies and some other select players, marking his first appearance in a practice of any kind. The warm-up is not a full on practice, but his participation raised hopes that he would take the field from day one of training camp. But he still appears uncertain as to whether that will happen.
"I’m ready, man," said Nelson. "I’m doing the process to continue getting out there to the field and when coach says that he wants me full go, that’s when it will happen. So when y’all find out, I’ll find out. When I find out, y’all will find out."
The veteran defensive back joins the Raiders, reuniting with his former head coach from his years with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Nelson sees that familiarity as well as this being his 11th NFL training camp, give him confidence his absence won’t negatively affect his development with his new team.
"I kind of know what to expect," Nelson continued. "It’s ten years, I mean, I don’t think too much is gonna change with camp and everything, so I know what to do. The mindset of doing that and getting that job done, so I don’t think it set me back any time."
Even still, there is the issue of working with new teammates and developing chemistry. That’s something you can’t replicate regardless of previous experience or familiarity with a coaching staff.
Along with being on an entirely new team, he will have a rookie safety in Karl Joseph lining up with him in the defensive backfield. Joseph has also not been able to attend practices while recovering from a torn ACL he suffered last year.
For that reason, Nelson said he didn’t take a vacation this offseason as most players do during the six week break between minicamp and training camp. "Nothing for vacation, all work," he said.
The past week being spent here in Napa in pre-camp workouts. Whether that portends he will start camp full go, he is still awaiting that word; "When the coach says I’m ready, I’m ready."