Raiders sign Trent Edwards, Khalif Barnes

July 30, 2011, 10:15 pm
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July 30, 2011


Paul Gutierrez

NAPA -- Back in 2007, then-Raiders coach Lane Kiffin had an idea.Actually, he had many thoughts when it came to what Oakland should do with the No. 1 overall draft pick. This one, though, had the Raiders selecting receiver Calvin Johnson before scooping up quarterback Trent Edwards later on and Kiffin then implementing his version of the West Coast Offense.Who knew it would take four-plus years -- and the failed JaMarcus Russell Era -- to get the former Stanford signal caller in Silver and Black? Edwards signed with the Raiders on Saturday to compete with Kyle Boller to be the team's back-up quarterback and ignite that old Stanford-Cal rivalry deep in the heart of Silver and Blackdom."Yeah, on my way up here, I had to stop by the facility in Alameda to sign my contract and the last time I was at that facility was right after the Combine (in 2007), right before the draft, when I was coming into the league," Edwards said. "So, I found my way over there. I didn't need directions. I knew how to get there, but it's been a while."I just remember visiting with coach (Greg) Knapp when he was here and they were interested. It felt like I had a good chance coming here(but) I obviously didn't, and now I'm back and excited to be here."Edwards, taken in the third round of the '07 draft, No. 92 overall by Buffalo, played three-plus seasons with the Bills before spending time with Jacksonville last year.He has a career passer rating of 75.4 with 26 touchdowns, 30 interceptions and a 60.5 completion rate with 6,019 yards passing. Edwards has started 33 of the 37 games he's appeared in and his best season was in 2008, when he had an 85.4 passer rating with 11 TD passes, 10 interceptions and 2,699 yards passing on 65.5 passing. Edwards went 7-7 as the Bills' starter that season.Jackson was intrigued."Having an opportunity to sit down and talk to him, he was what I was looking for," Jackson said of Edwards. "I mean, he's a big, strong, physical guy that can throw the ball. Loves football. Very passionate about the game."He's a gym rat. He likes to go in and study from morning to night. It's important to him. He's looking for an opportunity and we're a place that has an opportunity."After his second season, Edwards was seen as one of the brightest young QB's in the game. But his progress was slowed significantly by concussions.Still, he says he is healthy now and ready to compete. His agent, Ryan Tollner, is former Raiders passing game coordinator Ted Tollner so he has some familiarity with Oakland. Especially since the younger Tollner played for Jackson at Cal.Plus, Edwards said he liked Jackson's "energy," while saying he had other options on the table."He's just a guy that has an infectious personality," Edwards said of Jackson. "I enjoy being around guys like that. I enjoy playing for coaches like that. So that's kind of what sold me here."Reports of former Baltimore tackle Jared Gaither's imminent signing with the Raiders turned out to be premature as he reportedly failed a physical and Oakland took a pass and instead re-signed Khalif Barnes."I was laughing (that) everybody said we signed him," Jackson said. "I told you we hadn't."Jackson said Gaither was still a possibility for the future.In other signing news, the Raiders inked linebacker Sam Williams and "exclusive rights" players Desmond Bryant (defensive tackle), Bruce Davis (linebacker) and Marcel Reece (fullback). Plus, they signed undrafted rookie free agent Cal defensive tackle Derrick Hill.