Raiders safety Tyvon Branch, who signed a four-year contract this week, has only one goal for next season -- winning. The five-year veteran, who has a team-high 337 tackles over the past three seasons, joined reporters in a conference call Wednesday to discuss his new deal. Here is a partial transcript of his comments.
Q: For you to get a deal signed before camp, was that important?
Branch: "It was one of those things I felt was important but it wasn't a distraction ... I knew I was going to be a part of the team so I wasn't worried about it. ... I hoped that it would be able to get done. I love playing for the Raiders. ... I wanted to get a deal done so I'm excited about it.
Q: Did the knowledge that a long-term deal would help Oakland's salary cap number influence your decision?
Branch: "I knew that me signing would help the cap but I play football and let my agent do the other stuff. "
Q: Does the long-term deal give you peace of mind?
Branch: "Definitely it gives you that stability that you know you're going to be around for another couple of years."
Q: You had an oustanding season last year. How much better can you be?
Branch: "I think the sky's the limit as long as you work hard and want to become great. I think the sky's the limit. I'm just going to keep working hard and try to improve my game."
Q: Can you compare yourself to other safeties in the game?
Branch: "I don't really focus on that. I focus on what I'm doing here and what it takes for us to get better. ... I focus on my team. Different safeties have different roles in different defenses."
Q: What personal goals do you have for this season after leading the team in tackles?Branch: "I don't really have any personal goals. I just want to win man, whatever it takes to win. I'm all about winning -- whatever it takes for us to get in the big dance. "