HOUSTON -- The Raiders have placed backup linebacker Ricky Brown on season-ending Injured Reserve and signed fullback Manase Tonga to the active roster from the practice squad.Brown missed last week's game against New England after suffering a concussion against the New York Jets on Sept. 25.Tonga, meanwhile, offers the Raiders depth at fullback as starter Marcel Reece has not practiced in two weeks after injuring an ankle against the Jets, thougj he was listed as questionable and is here in Houston. Also, rookie Richard Gordon, a tight end by trade, broke a hand against New England last week filling in at fullback and is out.
OAKLAND – The Raiders knew they were going to be without some interior defensive linemen on Sunday against Buffalo, with Stacy McGee and Darius Latham ruled out earlier in the week.
There were several other key defender with an uncertain playing status, and the Silver and Black got good news on all of them. Cornerback David Amerson (knee) said he was ready to return after missing last week, and he will play against the Bills.
Interior linebackers Malcolm Smith and Perry Riley Jr., both questionable with hamstring injuries, are active and ready to go. They are key cogs in a run defense that must operate well to slow the NFL’s best run game.
The Raiders will move on without DJ Hayden, who is now on injured reserve, and will look to either Dexter McDonald or Keith McGill, a safety with professional experience at cornerback, as the No. 4 option. TJ Carrie will take on Hayden’s job at slot corner.
There was a curious inactive, with DeAndre Washington a healthy scratch for a second straight week as the Raiders consolidate their running back rotation. Latavius Murray has become a true lead dog, with Jalen Richard as an accent back and return man.
Menelik Watson will be the extra lineman moving forward, meaning Denver Kirkland was a tolerated inactive against Buffalo.
The Bills are missing some key players, including tight end Charles Clay, receivers Percy Harvin and Robert Wood and cornerback Ronald Darby.
Raiders fans are clamoring for edge rusher Aldon Smith to be reinstated into the NFL. That hasn’t happened yet.
Smith remains banished as a repeat offender of the NFL substance abuse policy, punitive action taken against him on Nov. 17, 2015. He was eligible for reinstatement after a calendar year, and applied for amnesty in early October.
The NFL hasn’t commented on the prospect of Smith’s reinstatement, per their policy in these cases. But, in order to be reinstated, Smith has to meet with commissioner Roger Goodell first.
According to a NFL Network report on Sunday morning, that hasn’t happened. Smith reportedly wants to meet with Goodell, who will ultimately decide Smith’s fate, but one has not been scheduled.
That’s a major issue considering how little of the season is left. The Raiders play two games in five days starting with Sunday’s home game against Buffalo and, on Friday, will have just three games left this regular season. A postseason berth could be possible, but nothing is secure yet.
Even after meeting with Goodell, it might take some time for the commissioner to adjudicate Smith’s case. That seems to make it less likely, though not impossible, that Smith will return this season.
Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie said earlier this week that the NFL will give him news on Smith “in due time,” and that he wouldn’t count him out of the lineup if he was reinstated in 2016.
Smith is pushing for that to be the case.
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport also reported that Smith has taken steps to get back in the league’s good graces, including an extended stay in rehab this summer.
The process of getting reinstated following a Stage 3 banishment levied against Smith is difficult.
As previously reported, here are the stipulations and steps that must be taken, according to the NFL’s collectively bargained substance abuse policy.
“Any Player who has been banished under Stage Three may apply formally in writing for reinstatement no sooner than 60 days before the one-year anniversary date of the letter so banishing him.
The application should include all pertinent information about the Player’s:
(b) Abstinence from Substances of Abuse throughout the entire period of his banishment;
(c) Involvement with any Substances of Abuse related incidents; and
(d) Arrests and/or convictions for any criminal activity, including Substances of Abuse-related offenses.
Set forth below are the procedures to be used when an application is received by the Commissioner.
1. Within 45 days of receipt of the application, the Player will be interviewed by the Medical Director and the Medical Advisor, after which a recommendation will be made to the Commissioner with regard to the Player’s request for reinstatement.
2. The Player will execute appropriate medical release forms that will enable the Commissioner’s staff and NFLPA Executive Director’s staff to review the Player’s substance abuse history, including but not limited to attendance at counseling sessions (individual, group and family); attendance at 12-step and other self-help group meetings; periodic progress reports; and all diagnostic findings and treatment recommendations.
3. The Player will submit to urine testing by an NFL representative at a frequency determined by the Medical Advisor.
4. The Player will agree in a meeting with the Commissioner or his representative(s) to comply with the conditions imposed by the Commissioner for his reinstatement to the status of an active Player.
5. All individuals involved in the process will take steps to enable the Commissioner to render a decision within 60 days of the receipt of the application.”