Tuck: 'I'll be a recruiter' of defensive talent

Tuck: 'I'll be a recruiter' of defensive talent
March 13, 2014, 1:15 pm
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I like the direction this team is talking about going in. I just want to be a part of it. Everyone knows the winning history of the Raiders and I want to be a part of the group that brings it back.
Justin Tuck

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Justin Tuck has name recognition. The respected veteran build a reputation harassing quarterbacks over nine years with the New York Giants. After signing a two-year, $11 million contract with the Raiders on Thursday afternoon, he hopes veteran talent follows the pied piper.

Linebacker Lamarr Woodley and defensive tackle Jason Hatcher visited Oakland together on Wednesday night and the Raiders hope to bring all three in as a package deal that would strengthen their defensive front. They would provide a massive upgrade over a season ago. The Raiders had 38 sacks in 2013. Those three had 26 between them. 

“I already put my word in with both of those guys,” Tuck said in a conference call with local press. “Obviously they have decisions to make, but also we can get guys like that, that are used to winning and knows what it takes to win, just football players, that would help us rebuild this thing. So, yes, I will be a recruiter.”

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All three have solid resumes but are north of 30, old men by NFL standards.

Tuck disagrees with any notion that he’s on the decline. He believes he’ll be as dangerous as ever and reward the Raiders for signing him.

“Everyone talks about how things go downhill once you turn 30,” Tuck said. "I don’t believe in that. I don’t look at myself in that regard. I feel like I have a lot of great football left in me, and I feel I can bring tremendous leadership to a new team as well.”

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General manager Reggie McKenzie has charged Tuck, a captain with the Giants, with leading a defensive front still under construction. Tuck is comfortable in that role, and hopes his production and locker-room presence can help the Raiders compete in the AFC West.

Tuck admitted he didn’t expect to play in that division. He even gave the Giants a chance to match the Raiders deal, but they declined. That prompted Tuck to switch coasts and start this new venture. 

“I’m excited. I really am,” Tuck said. “I like the direction this team is talking about going in. I just want to be a part of it. Everyone knows the winning history of the Raiders and I want to be a part of the group that brings it back.”