The Oakland Raiders signed Langston Walker Wednesday morning, but Raiders head coach Tom Cable needed to be reminded of it before acknowledging that the transaction indeed did happen.
After his opening statement, in which he listed the teams’ injuries, and after answering a few questions, he was finally asked if he had brought back Walker.
“We signed Langston this morning and released, waived/injured, Orenthal O’Neal,” said the Raiders head coach when prompted.
It had been speculated back in training camp that Oren O’Neal wasn’t fully healthy after his MCL injury last year, and now it seems to be one of the reasons that he’s been waived. Cable answered if the knee was part of the reason or if it was the ankle by saying, “I think a little bit of both but right now obviously it’s the ankle.“
Should O’Neal not be claimed by another team, his rights would revert back to the Raiders and he would be added to the injured reserve list for the team.
Langston Walker has been on the Raiders’ radar since his release at the end of training camp by the Buffalo Bills. The move by the Bills was surprising since they replaced him with 2008 seventh-round draft pick Demetrius Bell and because since acquiring Walker, the Bills line had produced two of their most productive seasons since the early 90’s.
While it had been speculated during camp that Walker might lose his starting job in Buffalo, being released wasn’t something that anyone thought was a possibility–including Walker. “I’m not gonna lie to you and tell you that I saw it coming,” said Walker in the Raiders locker room Wednesday morning. “But you know, they made their decision, and Oakland has me back.”
Cable and Walker have a history dating back to when the offensive lineman was in high school. While Cable was at Cal, he recruited Walker to the university. Walker’s new offensive line coach also coached at Cal, but Walker never played for Jim Michalczik while he was on the Golden Bears’ football team. (Both coaches played college football for Dennis Erickson–Cable at Idaho and Michalczik at Washington State.)
Cable said that Walker will strictly be a tackle for the Raiders and that for now he’s signed to give the team more bodies on the line for practice. At tackle, Walker will be competing with Mario Henderson, Khalif Barnes, and Erik Pears at both the left and right sides.