The Oakland Raiders signed former Washington Redskins linebacker Perry Riley Tuesday.
The Raiders are thin at linebacker after a slew of injuries, and Riley offers much-needed depth.
Middle linebacker Ben Heeney was placed on Injured Reserve with an ankle injury, outside linebacker Malcolm Smith’s status is shaky after he was unavailable at the end of Sunday’s win over the Ravens, and outside linebacker Neiron Ball was placed on IR right before the start of the season.
Riley played six seasons with the Redskins prior to signing with the Raiders. He was drafted in the fourth round of the 2010 NFL draft out of LSU.
In six seasons with Washington, Riley totaled 455 combined tackles, 9.5 sacks and 26 passes defended. His best season was 2012, when he had 129 combined tackles, 3.5 sacks and seven passes defended.
Riley was released in August by the Redskins, and was recovering from a foot injury he suffered last season.
“I broke my foot last November, last four weeks of the season…it was an uphill battle. I had to get another surgery in February. Everything is good to go now, feeling healthy, feeling good and ready to help the team.”
Riley excelled as a run stuffer in Washington, something he said he hopes to bring to the Raiders defense:
“I’m a football player. If you ask me I think I can do everything; cover, tackle, play the run and pass. But playing the run is definitely something outside people tell me I do well. I’m a physical player. I come down hill and take on blocks and make plays in the gap or the backfield.”
Riley was inconsistent in coverage at times with Washington, but he said he’s better than people give him credit for and not everyone was aware of the schemes he was a part of.
He already has a couple of connections with Raiders players as well. He played with cornerback David Amerson in Washington, and he was also childhood friends and played high school football with outside linebacker Bruce Irvin.
Riley said of Irvin:
“We are the same age, we grew up from the fourth grade on up. We’ve known each other every year. We’ve been rivals since we were younger, (and then) best friends so it’s good to be back with him again.”
Riley said the main reason he decided to sign with the Raiders was because of his connection with Irvin.
Cory James should still be slotted as the Raiders starting middle linebacker, especially after his 15-tackle performance against the Ravens. Riley likely won’t be an immediate starter, but he said he’s ready to contribute any way he can:
“I’m 28 years old. I still have a lot of great football left in me. It’s unfortunate I came off a serious injury that took a little (more time) and needed an extra surgery, things kind of went downhill. But I’m ready. I know I have a lot of good football left and I know I can help this team…I’m glad to be here.”