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Rashad Jennings' stance towards the Raiders hasn’t changed. The soon-to-be free agent running back wants to stay in Oakland following a career year.
Jennings set personal bests with 733 rushing yards, six touchdowns and 292 yards receiving in 15 games plus just eight starts.
Even more important, he fits in here. He’s a downhill rusher in a power scheme. It seems logical for him to stay.
Jennings also understands that things don’t always work out. Despite a desire to stay, he’s considered the possibility of leaving.
“Wants don’t always happen. In times like this, they can be irrelevant,” Jennings said in a telephone interview with CSN Bay Area. “I can’t fully control what happens when it comes to the business side of things. All I can do is put out my footage and show what kind of person I am. The goal is to prove one team’s evaluation right.”
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He proved he can be a starter after years as a backup in Jacksonville, a feat that precedes a raise.
Which team gives him a fair one will be determined in the coming weeks. Free agency starts in earnest on Tuesday afternoon, and teams will have a chance to lure him away. Jennings be a valued commodity in a free agent pool light on top talent, especially with a lackluster draft class turning pro.
Jennings is only human, and an uncertain future has caused anxiety. That’s why he’s poured focus into workouts, training as hard as ever for the 2014 season. Jennings’ motivation has never been higher because he believes his best football lies ahead.
“I’m excited because I’m still growing as a player,” Jennings said. “I watch tapes and I see myself progressively getting better every year. I understand the potential of what I can do, and that gives me motivation to work so hard at it. I have a lot more football left. I’m going to have to make sure that whichever team and city feels comfortable bringing me in gets my very best.”
The Raiders coaching staff would like Jennings to remain in the offense, and have said so in public and private. Coaches have also conceded there’s a business side to things that can’t be ignored. Jennings still holds out hope for a new contract with the Raiders.
“I enjoy Oakland. I love the fan base and what I was able to do last year,” he said. “I know where the organization’s headed and I could see myself being a part of how they want to play football. I would love to return. That’s where I want to be, but I don’t have that final say.”
Jennings isn’t looking for guarantees of playing time or carry counts. Those can be hollow. He just wants a fair contract and the chance to play his style of football.
“I never look for a promise from anyone,” Jennings said. “Every year, I want an opportunity. Nothing is a given in this league. All I want is a chance to play in a system that fits my style of play. I’m going to a place that wants and needs a complete back and a workhorse. That’s what I’m going to be.”
-- CSN Bay Area reporter Fallon Smith contributed to this report.