NAPA -- It wasn't that Jack Crawford was invisible or disappointing during rookie minicamp, three weeks of OTAs or a three-day minicamp. It's just that he did not stand out, so to speak.That changed Wednesday for the Raiders rookie defensive end. That it occurred on the first day the team wore pads should bode well for the fifth-round draft pick from Penn State, especially since many scouts see him as a project.Twice in the span of three snaps, Crawford broke clean through the line and, if the players were allowed to hit the quarterback, he would have had a pair of sacks. Again, in pads."You know, I felt good about today," Crawford said. "Theres always that feeling of getting in pads, how much thats going to change. Ive never played at this level before, so coming into this practice, I didnt know how it was going to be with putting the pads on. I didnt know what the step up was going to be from having no pads to putting them on. I just feel like after this practice, I feel good. I feel like I had a pretty decent practice, so I know I can compete, so now its just about getting better."Of course, as a backup, he was excelling against other backups, even third-stringers who will not be on the team come September. Still, success breeds success, right?"After practice I got a couple reps with the first-string offensive tackles and that stuff helps, just talking to them helps because they can critique me and help me get better as I move forward," Crawford said. "Its just the little things. So playing against the second stringers definitely helps because most of them have been in this league for a year or two."Just being able to elevate it to when I am going against the first string and being able to help out during the season. Thats my goal, making that 53-man roster and then making a difference to this team."The 6-foot-5, 274-pound Crawford, who grew up in England, only began playing football as a high school junior in New Jersey, hence the project label."Im pleased with Jack," coach Dennis Allen said. "Jack, obviously hes a young player so hes still learning the game, but hes a big guy thats got athleticism, and he wants to be good. And I think if you have athleticism and some football instincts and youre willing to work to get there, then hell, at some point, be a player for us."When I say that, what Im saying is hes willing to do the things that are necessary to be good. And I think in my experiences, some guys are willing to go that extra to really be good and some guys are looking for some shortcuts to take. They want to be good but theyre not willing to pay the price to be good. And hes one of those thats willing to pay the price to be good."It's a work ethic he's had since grade school, one that was fostered at Penn State, which is why he's conflicted with the developments at Happy Valley in the past year.Crawford, though, was far less outspoken than former college teammate-turned-Raiders center Stefen Wisniewski was earlier this week when he blasted the NCAA for the penalties the sports' governing body slapped on the Nittany Lions' football program."You know what, I couldnt say the same thing," Crawford said. "Its hard because I love Penn State, its a great atmosphere up there, some of the greatest fans in the country, theyre very loyal. I could understand it was hard, I know it from my former teammates it was definitely hard because theres so much media around. It was something that happened when I wasnt there, and now Ive moved on and Im thinking about the future."I keep in touch with all my friends from Penn State and I feel for everyone back there but personally, I have my mind set on different goals now. I offer my condolences to everyone whos been affected, especially all the victims but I cant say it affects me so much."
Raiders cornerback Sean Smith has been charged with assault, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced on Thursday.
The charge is for assault of his sister's boyfriend in Smith's hometown of Pasadena. Smith allegedly beat and stomped the boyfriend's head on the morning of July 4, 2017 in Old Town Pasadena, the district attorney said.
Smith faces formal felony counts of assault by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury and battery with serious bodily injury to the victim.
The 30-year old plans to fight the charges levied against him.
"Sean maintains his innocence at this time," Smith's attorney, Daniel Rosenberg told NBC Sports Califorinia on Thursday evening. "We are going to be entering a plea of not guilty and fighting these charges."
A warrant was filed on Aug. 16. Smith's arriagnment is scheduled for Sept. 29.
Smith was not present at Thursday's Raiders practice, the last session of training camp. He surrendered to Los Angeles County authorities, posted an $80,000 bond and has been released from custody.
If convicted as charged, Smith could face a maximum sentence of seven years in California prison.
A Raiders spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The case is still under investigation by the Pasadena Police Department.
This is another blow in a rough summer for Smith. He has struggled on the practice field during training camp and faces an off-field legal issue. Smith is guaranteed $9.5 million for the 2017 season.
More to come...
NAPA – Marshawn Lynch spoke with the media Thursday for the second time as a Raider. He was quick-witted, disarming and, as always, not suitable for work.
It was five minutes of peak Marshawn, where he brought light to his charitable endeavors, called himself the “daddy” of his position group and cleverly sidestepped all things nation anthem.
He was asked four questions on other topics before elephant in the room was mentioned. It didn’t stick around long.
“I think the elephant left the room because a little mouse ran in here,” Lynch deadpanned. “Didn’t they say elephants are scared of mice or something? That [expletive] left the room, cousin.”
Two more related questions came down the pike. The first was about Del Rio letting players be themselves. He answered a different question instead.
“Yeah, because on ‘doctor-24,’ it’s a designed way that you’re supposed to run it but I have all freedom to go any way that I choose to run it,” Lynch said. “I would say, yes.”
The final anthem-esque query was deflected in a similar fashion.
“When we run ‘74’ or something like that, where I have to scan and read on both sides, that is pretty difficult. For the most part, I’m a veteran so I can make it work.”
Two things were crystal clear after speaking with Lynch.
He didn’t miss football one bit during his year in retirement. Lynch said this spring he decided to return after the Raiders were approved to relocate away from his native Oakland. He wants to represent his hometown well and give them something to cheer before the team leaves for Las Vegas.
That’s why he’s fired up even for Saturday’s exhibition against the Rams – he’s expected to make a cameo in that game – his first in Oakland wearing silver and black.
“It’s truly a blessing and just to have the opportunity to go and do that is a good [expletive] feeling,” Lynch said. “It’s a good [expletive] feeling.”
Lynch has always been active in the community, and hopes him playing here will bring more visibility to what’s being done to help kids in Oakland.
“I plan on continuing to do what I do in the community,” Lynch said. “It’ll probably be that now that I’m here, more people that are in the community might actually come out and support what it is that we’ve got going on.”