ALAMEDA -- It's no secret Tyvon Branch is one of the fastest guys on a team full of fast guys.But the strong safety's kickoff return skills? That was a new one on Raiders coach Hue Jackson, who said Branch would again return a kick or two at Kansas City on Saturday after his flash of brilliance against Detroit."Wow, was that spectacular," Jackson said. "I didn't know he had that in him."With Bryan McCann sidelined with a concussion, Branch took the second half-opening kickoff from five-yards deep in the left side of the end zone, followed a crushing block from Jerome Boyd and scooted up the right sideline to the Lions' 35-yard line."Then, everybody told me, 'Hey, coach, that's what he used to do,'" Jackson said. "I was shocked. I looked back there because McCann was hurt and I go, 'What are we doing?' That's when they told me we had to put him back here because the guy was hurt."Branch's 70-yard return, though, was nullified as Boyd was called for a personal foul on the block at the 10-yard line.Whatever Hue asks me to do, Im going to do it, Branch said. Its just one of those things that if I think it could make the team better, Im going to do it.Thats all that returning is...running your fastest and try not to get hit.Still, Branch's return skills opened Jackson's eyes."I was standing there and I think it was Shane (Lechler) or T.J. (Houshmandzadeh), somebody, said, 'Coach, watch this, because it might be a touchdown.' I go, 'What are you talking about? I'm just worried about the guy getting the ball, catching it and making sure we get to the next down with the ball," Jackson said. "You guys are talking about touchdown.'"He comes running down the sideline, I go, 'You got to be kidding me.' This guy's electrifying returning the ball. So, if anybody can help us score a touchdown, I'm all for putting him back there. No doubt."The issue, then, is in Branch not surrendering touchdowns on defense. According to STATS Inc., he was charged with giving up six completions in the eight passes thrown his way for 111 yards, including two touchdown passes.
A week after signing a deal with the Vikings, former Raiders running back Latavius Murray has undergone ankle surgery.
The Vikings made the announcement Wednesday afternoon.
Minnesota issued the following statement regarding the surgery:
"Vikings RB Latavius Murray had successful ankle surgery today. The surgery was performed by Dr. Bob Anderson in Charlotte, North Carolina. We were aware of the required surgery prior to signing Latavius on March 16. Latavius is expected to fully recover and be available for training camp."
Murray's deal with the Vikings is reported worth $15 million over three years, but can reportedly be voied after the first year.
Drafted in the sixth round of the 2013 NFL Draft, Murray became the Raiders' primary running back midway through the 2015 season. In his three years in Oakland, Murray carried the ball 543 times for 2,278 yards and 12 touchdowns. He was named to the Pro Bowl in 2015.
After four seasons with the Raiders, tight end Mychal Rivera is on the move.
The 2013 sixth-round pick has signed a deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars, the team announced.
News of an agreement between the two sides was first reported by ESPN. Terms of the deal were not immediately known.
After playing a prominent role in Oakland his first two seasons, Rivera saw his numbers decrease in 2015 and 2016. This past season, he caught just 18 passes for 192 yards and one touchdown.
In his time with the Raiders, the Tennessee alum caught a total of 146 passes for 1,413 yards and 10 touchdowns.
The Raiders signed free agent tight end Jared Cook last week to go with incumbents Clive Walford and Lee Smith.
Shortly after the deal was announced, Rivera took to Instagram to thank Raiders fans.
"Thank You #RaiderNation. It was an honor to wear silver and black for the first 4 years of my NFL career. A kid from LA was drafted to the Bay...and God made a way! Wins, Losses, Blood, Sweat, & Tears made me the player I am today. Better than ever. The values that embody what it is to be a Raider will stick with me for life," Rivera wrote.
Free agent tight end Mychal Rivera has agreed to terms with the Jaguars, two sources tell me.— Jeff Darlington (@JeffDarlington) March 22, 2017
Thank You #RaiderNation. It was an honor to wear silver and black for the first 4 years of my NFL career. A kid from LA was drafted to the Bay...and God made a way! Wins, Losses, Blood, Sweat, & Tears made me the player I am today. Better than ever. The values that embody what it is to be a Raider will stick with me for life.