March, 11, 2015 5:06 PM PT
ALAMEDA, Calif. – The Oakland Raiders have signed free agent LB Curtis Lofton, the club announced Wednesday.
Lofton joins the Raiders after spending the last three seasons with the New Orleans Saints. A defensive team captain the past two years, Lofton led the team in tackles in each of his two seasons with the Saints. His career totals include 112 games played with 111 starts, 1,058 tackles (689 solo), seven sacks, 11 forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries, seven interceptions and 38 passes defensed. He has exceeded 100 tackles each season and led his team in stops the last six seasons.
Before joining the Saints, Lofton spent four seasons with the Atlanta Falcons. In 2011, the 6-foot, 241-pounder recorded a career-high 147 tackles (87 solo), and was named NFC Defensive Player of the Week following a Week 17 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in which he led the team with 14 stops (eight solo) and had a 26-yard interception returned for a touchdown.
Lofton has also played in five career postseason games, totaling 45 tackles (27 solo) and one sack.
A native of Kingfisher, Oklahoma, Lofton was originally selected by the Atlanta Falcons in the second round (37th overall) of the 2008 NFL Draft out of Oklahoma. Lofton played in 39 games at Oklahoma with 19 starts, including four starts at middle linebacker. He recorded 197 tackles (117 solo), one sack, five forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and three interceptions. His performance as a senior in 2007 earned him Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year by the Associated Press and consensus All-American and All-Big 12 Conference honors.
Curtis Lofton signed a 3 year / $18,000,000 contract with the Oakland Raiders, including $6,500,000 guaranteed, and an annual average salary of $6,000,000.
The Oakland Raiders Media Conference Call Q & A
Q: Did this develop pretty quickly over the last 24 hours or so?
Lofton: “Yeah, there was an interest on both sides and it got done really quickly.”
Q: Did they talk to you about what your role would be here and if you would be playing in the middle?
Lofton: “I think my role here is I’m going to be the middle linebacker and kind of the quarterback of the defense. Kind of help these young guys get lined up. Take charge and they brought me here to win.”
Q: What impressions do you have of Sio Moore and Khalil Mack?
Lofton: “I’ve seen some film of them, but I haven’t really seen enough to give you guys what I think of them just yet. I think I’d rather meet them and be around them before I start giving my opinion of them.”
Q: Was there something in talking to Ken Norton, Jr. and Jack Del Rio that attracted you to this defensive scheme?
Lofton: “I think the No. 1 thing that attracted me to the Raiders is just the passion, the energy, just the positive feeling that we’re going to get this thing turned around. Why not win now? Another cool thing about it is Coach Del Rio was a linebacker, played linebacker, Ken Norton Jr., he played linebacker, and then linebackers coach coach Sal Sunseri, they all played linebacker. So, they’re going to see it how I see it and I think they can help me take my game to the next level.”
Q: Is it difficult to separate the business side from a city and a town that you grew to love in New Orleans?
Lofton: “Yeah, it sucks getting cut. It sucks getting released. At the same time, like I said, there are a lot of things to look forward to. My future coming here, being a part of this. These great fans and the great history here. I cherish my time there but, walking outside and seeing the scenery and this weather, it’s tough to be disappointed about being here.”
Q: I’m sure you knock on wood when you hear people talking about your consecutive games played and all of that, but is your durability and availability a point of pride for you?
Lofton: “That’s definitely my pride. There have been times when I didn’t think I was going to be able to play and I found it within to play. I think I’ve got this burning force inside of me that loves to compete, and I feel like anytime I’m on the field, I give my team a great chance to win. So I always try to be out there regardless, and plus, I always put my team above my own needs and my own health. That’s how I’ve always been and that’s how I’ll always be.”
Q: Dan Williams said Charles Woodson and Justin Tuck were around to talk to him. To come to a team with two veterans of that kind of credibility in this league, how appealing is that?
Lofton: “I got to sit down and have dinner with Tuck last night, and it’s definitely appealing. He made a great case for here. I’ve got a ton of respect for him in this game. He told me, he said, ‘We’re missing a middle backer. We need you to be that guy.’ I thought about it and I signed up today, so I’m ready.”
Q: The Raiders have been connected to DeMarco Murray for about 24 hours, and you went to college with him. Will you play the role of recruiter now that you’re with the Raiders.
Lofton: “Man, I think you can’t have too many good players on one team, or too many good Sooners, that were former Sooners on one team. I reached out to DeMarco. I think he has a lot on his plate right now and I would love for him to be a part of this team. Man, it would be awesome to get him.”
Q: So you did reach out to Murray?
Lofton: “Yes, I did.”
Q: In terms of the responsibility of being the middle linebacker and knowing the scheme, are you going to try to sink your teeth into this playbook and try to get as immersed as possible in the time you have?
Lofton: “I think that I’ve been given some tools that will help me get into the book, this playbook, and start learning, and I’ll do that. But some of it, too, is just you have to walk it. You have to get a good feel for it. You’ve got to be around the guys, see how you’re going to play things. Coaches are still getting things together, so I feel like I’m definitely going to immerse myself as much as possible and learn the little bit they gave me and knock that out, so when I come back, I’ve got a jumpstart. But I’ve always been a fast learner.”