Every free agent that signs with a new team has their reasons. For many players the financial aspect takes the top spot. The 30-year-old Shareece Wright wasn’t going to be commanding a large deal from any team, so his decision would made for other reasons. For him, signing a one-year deal to come to Oakland was an absolute no-brainer.
For those corners who are thinking of their career prospects, going to a team with a major need ups the chances of sticking with the team. The Raiders certainly fit that bill after cutting both their starters and allowing slot corner TJ Carrie leave in free agency.
With the current expected starters to be last year’s top pick Gareon Conley and newly signed Rashaad Melvin, Wright could be asked to play the slot. Somewhere he says he has some experience.
“Last year (with the Bills) and I played a little bit early on in my career,” he said. “I come from defenses where corners travel, so as a corner you’ll be playing in the slot and zone coverage and man coverage, so it’s pretty much like a nickel.”
Mostly, Wright sees himself filling the role of veteran leader on an otherwise very young defensive secondary.
“The opportunity, just looking at the roster, looking at the coaching staff,” Wright said Monday of why the Raiders were an attractive option for him. “Obviously coach Gruden, just wanted to have the opportunity to play with him and after talking with him on the phone, it made sense. And talking to my agent, just breaking down the scenarios and possibilities of other places than here and we felt like this was the best fit for me at this point in my career.”
Speaking of Gruden, incoming free agents have pretty much unilaterally mentioned his passion as a primary draw to joining the Raiders.
“You know we’re gonna grind hard, work hard, he’s gonna coach you hard,” Wright said of Gruden. “He’s gonna love you up, but he’s gonna coach you hard and he’s gonna get the best out of you. That’s just the type of guy that he is. So, as a player and as a competitor, I couldn’t ask for a better coach to play for.”
Gruden isn’t the only coach Wright wanted to play for. Special teams coordinator held the same position with the Chargers when they selected Wright out of USC in the third round. He undoubtedly lobbied to get Wright to Oakland just as he had one time before.
“Rich Bisaccia was there in San Diego when I got drafted,” Wright said, “and he’s one of those coaches that’s gonna love you, but he’s going to coach you hard. He’s gonna get the best out of you. I remember he was in Dallas, he called me after I got released from Baltimore and he told me he wanted me to be there, he’s gonna try to get me in there and it didn’t work out. For him to be here and for it to work out this time, it’s great.”
Having a familiar face is also important with teammates. He will have one of those as well, joining the team along with former fellow defensive back Marcus Gilchrist.
“Marcus Gilchrist is one of my best friends,” Wright continued. “We were in the Senior Bowl together, coming out and we got drafted together in San Diego. We were separated for a few years and now we’re back together. It’s great to have familiar faces in new buildings. Not only that but have someone that you happen to be close with, too. It’s great. I’m excited about that.”
And last, but not least, for Wright, he’s going back to Cali. Having grown up in Colton California, he then went to USC, was drafted by the Chargers and spent four years there, and signed with the 49ers at one time.
He still makes his home in California and owns a trucking company which is run out of Fontana. In the latter stages of his NFL career, being in California means a great deal to him.
“At this point in my career, it definitely was one of my priorities after going away and being on the East Coast and being away from my family,” said Wright. “I have a son now, he’s four years old. He’s gonna be playing sports and my business that I have going on in California, for me to be able to be closer to that it means a lot.”
Being a Southern California native, the Raiders were the home team when he was little, so naturally he has a lot of relatives who are Raiders fans.
“Not only that but just to be able to play for the Raiders,” Wright added. “I mean it’s California’s team in a sense and you know watching the Raiders growing up, my stepdad was a big Raiders fan and his brother was a Chiefs fan, so when those games came on it was a lot going on at my house as a kid. I just remember watching the Raiders and to have the opportunity to play for them at this point is great.”
Talk about checking all the boxes.