Tag Archives: Pro Bowl

Oakland Raiders Amari Cooper Gets Encouraging Words From Childhood Idol Andre Johnson

 By Shawn Jonas

Oakland, California  – The Oakland Raiders fell to the Tennessee Titans 27-14 in their their third preseason game (1-2) and first at home on Saturday night.  The Raiders second year wide receiver Amari Cooper had another great night as a pro.

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Photo by Shawn Jonas
Amari Coopers’ 30-yard touchdown grab from Derek Carr.  Photos by Shawn Jonas

Cooper had three receptions for 52-yards and a touchdown with a 17.3 yard per catch average in limited duty.  Raiders quarterback Derek Carr and Amari connected on a deep 30-yard scoring play where Cooper made a spectacular catch in the back of the end zone.

Derek Carr and Amari Cooper celebrate. Photo by Shawn Jonas
Derek Carr and Amari Cooper celebrate. Photo by Shawn Jonas

That wasn’t the only highlight of the night for Cooper.  During the traditional post game meet in the middle of the field event that happens after every NFL game, Amari had another gem happen.  He was tapped on the shoulder from behind and it was none other than 7-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Andre Johnson.

Johnson had some encouraging words to share with the second year wideout.

Question: I saw Andre Johnson sought you out after the game, what did he say to you?

Cooper- “He just told me to keep on doing what I am doing,” Amari said. “That guy was my favorite receiver growing up. He went to the University of Miami, I’m from Miami. He’s a great wide receiver.  I wanted to meet him a while ago, but I’m happy I got a chance to meet him at the game and kinda talk to him. It was cool.”

Amari Cooper was born in Miami, Florida in June of 1994 and Andre Johnson was born in Miami, Florida in July of 1981.

Johnson has had a storied career where he currently has the most reception of any active player with 1,053 receptions which also puts him 8th on the all-time list in that category.  He also has the most receiving yards of any active player with 14,100 which also puts him 9th on the all-time list. He has countless other statistics that puts him right there with some of the greatest to ever play the game.

Cooper has a long way to go, but there is no doubt he would like to be one of the best ever like his childhood idol Andre Johnson.

All Photos by Shawn Jonas

Oakland Raiders Re-Sign Left Tackle Donald Penn

Photo by Shawn Jonas

ALAMEDA, Calif. – The Oakland Raiders have re-signed T Donald Penn, the club announced Thursday.

Penn signed with the Raiders in March 2014 after eight seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Over the last two years, he has started all 32 games at left tackle for Oakland, extending his remarkable streak to 144 consecutive games played and 140 consecutive starts with the Raiders and Buccaneers. His 144 straight games played and 140 straight starts, both of which date back to 2007, are tied for second and third, respectively, among active NFL offensive linemen.

Last season, Penn was a key part of an offensive unit that produced four Pro Bowlers – QB Derek Carr, WR Amari Cooper, RB Latavius Murray and FB Marcel Reece. Cooper became the first Raiders to reach 1,000 receiving yards since 2005 and Murray the first Raider to reach 1,000 rushing yards since 2010.

He was originally signed as an undrafted free agent by the Minnesota Vikings in 2006 before being signed off the practice squad by the Buccaneers later that season. The 6-foot-4, 315-pounder was named to the Pro Bowl after the 2010 season.

The Inglewood, Calif., native attended Utah State, where he started 44 consecutive games at both tackle positions for the Aggies.

Press Release Courtesy of the Oakland Raiders Media Relations

San Francisco 49ers WR Anquan Boldin Named Walter Payton NFL Man Of The Year

Photo by Shawn Jonas

San Francisco 49ers WR Anquan Boldin was named the 2015 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year, presented by Nationwide, on Saturday, February 6, becoming the first player in franchise history to win the esteemed accolade. One of the most prestigious awards in all of sports, the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award is the only league award that recognizes a player’s off-the-field community service as well as his playing excellence. As a part of the honor, Boldin’s Q81 foundation will receive a $50,000 donation, courtesy of the NFL Foundation and Nationwide.

“I’m beyond humbled to be selected as the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year,” said Boldin. “I used to dream that I could play like Walter Payton when I was growing up, but he became even more of an inspiration to me as I learned about his legacy as a humanitarian. I commend the other 31 finalists throughout the National Football League who continue to use this platform to influence the lives of others in a positive way. May we continue to open our hearts and make an impact in our communities and throughout this world.”

Anquan Boldin is a tremendous example of a professional athlete who has used the platform the National Football League affords him to positively impact the lives of others,” said 49ers CEO Jed York. “The diversity of his philanthropic efforts and the hands-on approach he takes to providing for those who cannot provide for themselves is widely respected throughout professional sports. Anquan has been a great ambassador for the San Francisco 49ers, and we congratulate him on being named this year’s Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year.”

Boldin etched his name in the NFL record books multiple times throughout the 2015 season. In Week 16, Boldin recorded his 1,000th career reception becoming one of only 13 players in NFL history to record 1,000-or-more receptions in their career. In addition, Boldin reached 1,000 receptions in 185 games, making him the fifth-fastest player to reach that milestone, and currently ranks 12th in NFL history with 1,009 career receptions. Boldin also became the first player in NFL history to record 50-or-more receptions and at least 600 yards receiving in each of his first 13 NFL seasons. He finished the season with 69 receptions for 789 yards and four touchdowns. Throughout his career, Boldin has been honored with NFL Man of the Year nominations four times by three different teams and has been equally impactful in the community during his 13 years in the NFL.

Boldin is responsible for establishing the Anquan Boldin (Q81) Foundation, which for 12 years has been dedicated to expanding the educational and life opportunities of underprivileged children. Through grassroots efforts by Boldin, the foundation has showcased charitable activities in Phoenix, Baltimore, South Florida and the San Francisco Bay Area, developing a niche for awarding scholastic and community achievement in youth, as well as distributing four-year college scholarships to deserving high school seniors. In 2014, the three-time Pro Bowl selection and his wife, Dionne, donated one million dollars to the Q81 Foundation for continued distribution of college scholarships. That same year, the NFLPA awarded Boldin and his foundation $100,000 for winning the prestigious Byron “Whizzer” White Award. Boldin’s foundation was also awarded $25,000, when he was named a 2015 Sports Humanitarian of the Year Award finalist, the only NFL player to be acknowledged.

Furthermore, the 13-year veteran recruits fellow NFL players and celebrities to participate in the annual Q-Festival, a weekend of free entertainment provided to residents and participating fans in his Florida hometown of Palm Beach County, raising more than $100,000 annually. Other seasonal services provided through the foundation include Thanksgiving giveaways, holiday shopping sprees and back-to-school donations.

Boldin’s philanthropic endeavors have also had a global impact. Since 2010, he has worked with Oxfam America, taking two overseas trips to Ethiopia and Senegal and later using his testimony at the White House to lobby Senegalese rights.

Press Release Courtesy of the San Francisco 49ers Media Relations

Oakland Raiders Safety Charles Woodson Named Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award Winner

Photo by Shawn Jonas

Charles Woodson of the Oakland Raiders is the winner of the second annual Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award presented by Mcdonald’s, it was announced today. The award recognizes the NFL player who demonstrates the qualities of outstanding sportsmanship on the playing field, including fair play, respect for opponents and integrity in competition.

The announcement of the Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award Presented by McDonald’s was made at NFL Honors, a two-hour primetime awards special that will air nationally at 9 PM ET/PT tonight on CBS. The award was founded last year in honor of the late founding owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Pro Football Hall of Famer Art Rooney, SR.

Woodson will receive a $25,000 donation from the NFL Foundation to a charity of his choice.

To commemorate the honor, Woodson was presented on-stage “The Art Rooney Trophy,” which represents the important role that sportsmanship plays in the game and how NFL players that demonstrate integrity and honor on the field serve as role models for other players at all levels. The award design was inspired by the upward arc of a football in motion and contains a gold line embedded in glass that represents the path of sportsmanship throughout a career. Etched into the award are the words “integrity,” “honor,” “respect,” and “fairness,” the values that define excellent sportsmanship.

The winner of the Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award is determined by a vote of current NFL players. In 2014, the players chose Larry Fitzgeraldof the Arizona Cardinals as the inaugural winner of the Art Rooney Award.

Each NFL team nominated one of its players for the award, which recognizes players who exemplify outstanding sportsmanship on the field. A panel of former players from the NFL Legends Community selected eight finalists (four in the AFC; four in the NFC) from the 32 nominees. The panel of Legends Coordinators was comprised of Warrick Dunn, Curtis Martin, Karl Mecklenburg, Leonard Wheeler.

The eight finalists were listed on the Pro Bowl ballot under the Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award when players voted on December 18, 2015. From the eight finalists, each team’s players submit a consensus vote of its choice for the winner. As in Pro Bowl voting, a team could not vote for its own player.

The finalists, featuring four players from each conference, were running back JUSTIN FORSETT (Baltimore), running back MATT FORTÉ (Chicago), linebacker LUKE KUECHLY (Carolina), quarterback MATT HASSELBECK (Indianapolis), wide receiver CALVIN JOHNSON (Detroit), cornerback JASON MC COURTY (Tennessee), tackle JOE STALEY (San Francisco) and Woodson.

Press Release Courtesy of the Oakland Raiders Media Relations

Oakland Raiders RB Latavius Murray Selected To First Pro Bowl

Photo by Shawn Jonas

ALAMEDA, Calif.Oakland Raiders RB Latavius Murray was named to his first Pro Bowl, the NFL announced Sunday. Murray, who was originally selected as an alternate, replaces Carolina Panthers RB Jonathan Stewart, who will be participating in the Super Bowl.

Murray joins teammates S Charles Woodson, FB Marcel Reece, DE Khalil Mack, QB Derek Carr and WR Amari Cooper as selections to the NFL’s all-star game, to be played at Honolulu’s Aloha Stadium on Jan. 31. In December, Murray, Cooper and Carr and were named alternates for the Pro Bowl, and Carr and Cooper were named as replacements last week.

The Raiders’ six Pro Bowl selections mark the team’s most since having six in 1994. The selections that season were WR/KR Tim Brown, G Kevin Gogan, QB Jeff Hostetler, CB Terry McDaniel, DT Chester McGlockton and G Steve Wisniewski. The most Pro Bowl representatives in franchise history came in 1973 and 1974 when the Raiders featured nine Pro Bowlers each year.

Murray became the first Raider since 2010 to rush for 1,000 yards in a season, totaling 1,066 yards on 266 carries (4.0 avg.) and six touchdowns in 2015. His rushing total ranked sixth in the NFL and second among all AFC running backs. The third-year player also ranked third on the team with 41 receptions, totaling 232 yards.

The 6-foot-3, 230-pound running back eclipsed the 100-yard mark twice during the campaign, racking up 139 yards on the ground in a Week 3 victory at Cleveland and posting a 113-yard effort in a Week 8 win over the New York Jets at home. He topped 70 yards rushing in a game on five other occasions during the year.

The native of Nedrow, N.Y., was drafted by the Raiders in the sixth round (184th overall) of the 2013 NFL Draft out of UCF. He spent his rookie year on the reserve/injured list before playing in 15 games with three starts in 2014. He finished his second season with 82 carries for 424 yards and two touchdowns, leading the team with a 5.2-yard rushing average.

Press Release Courtesy of the Oakland Raiders Media Relations

Oakland Raiders WR Amari Cooper Selected To First Pro Bowl

Photo by Shawn Jonas

ALAMEDA, Calif. Oakland Raiders rookie WR Amari Cooper was named to his first Pro Bowl, the NFL announced Thursday. Cooper, who was originally selected as an alternate, replaces New York Jets WR Brandon Marshall.

Cooper joins teammates S Charles Woodson, FB Marcel Reece, DE Khalil Mack and QB Derek Carr as selections to the NFL’s all-star game, to be played at Honolulu’s Aloha Stadium on Jan. 31. In December, Cooper, Carr and RB Latavius Murray were named alternates for the Pro Bowl, and Carr was named as a replacement on Wednesday.

The five Pro Bowl selections for the Raiders mark the most for the team since having five in 2002. Cooper is the third Raiders draft pick in the last two years to be named to the Pro Bowl, joining Mack and Carr. He is the sixth Raiders rookie to make the Pro Bowl, joining Woodson (1998), Tim Brown (1988), Marcus Allen (1982), Ray Guy (1973) and Raymond Chester (1970) on that list.

Cooper led NFL rookies in nearly every receiving category by posting 72 receptions for 1,070 yards (14.9 avg.) with six touchdowns in 2015. He became the first ever Raiders rookie to reach 1,000 receiving yards and set franchise records for receptions and 100-yard games by a rookie with five.

The 6-foot-1, 210-pound wideout led the team in receiving yards and yards per catch, while ranking first among NFL rookies in receptions, receiving yards and tying for first in touchdowns. Additionally, his 72 catches are the most ever by a wide receiver 21 or younger and his yardage total is the second most by a NFL player 21 or younger.

Cooper saw the first of his five 100-yard games come in Week 2 against Baltimore, while also becoming the youngest Raiders wide receiver to catch a touchdown pass. In Week 3 at Cleveland, Cooper became the first Raiders rookie with 100 receiving yards in back-to-back games since James Jett (Nov. 21-28, 1993) and joined DeSean Jackson (2008) as the only NFL rookies in the past 30 years with two 100-yard receiving games in their team’s first three games. Cooper’s five 100-yard games are tied for the second most by a rookie since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger.

The native of Miami, Fla., was tabbed as the Raiders’ first-round draft pick and the fourth-overall selection in the 2015 NFL Draft after a record-setting career at Alabama. He was the highest wide receiver taken in the draft and the first receiver taken by Oakland in the first round since 2009.

Press Release Courtesy of the Oakland Raiders Media Relations

Oakland Raiders QB Derek Carr Selected For First Pro Bowl

Photo by Shawn Jonas

ALAMEDA, Calif. Oakland Raiders QB Derek Carr was named to his first Pro Bowl, the NFL announced Wednesday. Carr, who was originally selected as an alternate for the Pro Bowl, replaces Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers, who is unable to participate due to injury.

“First, I want to thank God for the opportunity to be able to go to Hawaii,” said Carr. “Secondly, I want to thank my family, my friends, my teammates, my coaches and all of Raider Nation for their support. Third, I want to thank everyone who voted for me and all of the opposing players and coaches that voted for me. That means more to me than they know. Go Raiders!”

Carr’s teammates S Charles Woodson, FB Marcel Reece and DE Khalil Mack were also selected to the NFL’s all-star game, to be played at Honolulu’s Aloha Stadium on Jan. 31. In December, RB Latavius Murray and rookie WR Amari Cooper were also named alternates for the Pro Bowl.

One of the NFL’s most dynamic young passers, Carr becomes the first Raiders quarterback to be named to the Pro Bowl since Rich Gannon in 2002 after starting all 16 games. He threw for 3,987 yards on 350-of-573 passing (61.1 percent) with 32 touchdowns and 13 interceptions for a passer rating of 91.1. He also added career-high rushing totals with 33 attempts for 138 yards (4.2 avg.).
The 6-foot-3, 215-pound signal caller finished his sophomore campaign tied for seventh in the NFL in passing touchdowns and 300-yard passing performances with six. Carr also recorded four fourth-quarter comeback drives, five games with a rating of at least 100.0 (5-0 record) and 11 multi-touchdown games, tied for third in the NFL.

Carr was named the Castrol Edge Clutch Performer of the Week twice in 2015 after leading the Raiders on fourth-quarter scoring drives to secure comeback victories. In Week 2 against Baltimore, he threw for a career-high 351 yards and three scores, including the game-winning touchdown pass with 26 seconds remaining. Carr again led a fourth-quarter comeback drive and threw a touchdown pass with 1:21 remaining to defeat the Tennessee Titans on the road in Week 12. Carr tied a single-game high by throwing four touchdowns in back-to-back games in Weeks 8 and 9, against the New York Jets and Pittsburgh Steelers, respectively.

The native of Bakersfield, Calif., joined the Raiders in 2014 as the team’s second-round selection (36th overall) in the NFL Draft. He has started all 32 games over his first two NFL seasons, becoming the first offensive player to do so in Raiders franchise history. Carr is the owner of 53 career touchdown passes, the second most ever by a player through his first two NFL seasons.

Press Release Courtesy of the Oakland Raiders Media Relations

Oakland Raiders Woodson, Reece and Mack Selected To Pro Bowl

Photos by Shawn Jonas

ALAMEDA, Calif.Oakland Raiders S Charles Woodson, FB Marcel Reece and DE Khalil Mack have been named to the 2016 Pro Bowl, the NFL announced Tuesday.

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QB Derek Carr, WR Amari Cooper and RB Latavius Murray were named as alternates for the annual all-star game, scheduled to be played at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii, on Jan. 31, 2016.

After announcing his intention to retire at season’s end, Woodson has been selected to his ninth Pro Bowl and fifth as a Raider. He has started all 14 games at safety this season, totaling 82 tackles (59 solo), five interceptions, nine passes defensed, one forced fumble and three fumble recoveries. His five interceptions are tied for sixth in the NFL and his 82 tackles are second on the team. Earlier this year, was named the AFC Defensive Player of the Month for October after posting three interceptions in three games, including a season-high two picks in Week 5 vs. Denver.

Reece has been selected to his fourth straight Pro Bowl, as he has been chosen every season since 2012. The four-time Pro Bowler has played in all 14 games for the Raiders this year, starting six, and totaled 28 receptions for 266 yards (9.5 avg.) with three touchdowns and 10 carries for 36 yards. Reece’s 9.5 yards per reception rank seventh among all running backs and fullbacks this season. In Week 1 vs. Cincinnati, Reece posted his first career multi-touchdown game, hauling in two touchdown receptions.

In his second season, Mack has started all 14 games, totaling 62 tackles (46 solo), 15 sacks, two forced fumbles and three passes defensed. His 15 sacks lead the NFL and he is just one sack away from tying the franchise single-season record. Mack owns four multi-sack games this year, including a 2015 NFL single-game high five sacks in the team’s Week 14 victory at Denver, a performance for which he was named AFC Defensive Player of the Week.

The three Pro Bowlers for the Raiders mark the most the team has had since 2011 when they had four.

Press Release Courtesy of the Oakland Raiders Media Relations

Oakland Raiders Sign DE Aldon Smith

ALAMEDA, Calif. – The Oakland Raiders have signed free agent LB Aldon Smith, the club announced Friday.

Smith joins the Raiders after four seasons with the San Francisco 49ers in which he totaled 44 sacks in 50 games. His career totals also include 192 tackles (141 solo), five passes defensed, one interception and 5.5 sacks in eight career playoff games.

The 49ers’ first-round draft pick (seventh overall) in 2011, Smith was the runner-up in the AP Defensive Rookie of the Year voting after recording 14 sacks in his first season. In 2012, Smith was named to the Pro Bowl and selected for first-team All Pro honors after posting 19.5 sacks and his first career interception. He totaled 10.5 sacks over the past two seasons with San Francisco.

“Aldon is an extremely talented young player,” said Head Coach Jack Del Rio. “We welcome him to the Raiders family and expect him to bring his best every day and be a great teammate.”

“We are confident that the Raiders provide an environment where Aldon can thrive through the support, structure and leadership within the building,” said General Manager Reggie McKenzie. “We are excited to have Aldon here in the Raiders family.”

To make room on the roster, the Raiders have waived DE Lavar Edwards.

Press Release Courtesy of the Oakland Raiders Media Relations

Raiders Sign Veteran LB Lorenzo Alexander

ALAMEDA, Calif. – The Oakland Raiders have signed free agent LB Lorenzo Alexander, the club announced Wednesday.

Alexander is entering his ninth NFL season, following stints with the Washington Redskins (2006-12) and Arizona Cardinals (2013-14), and practice squad stops with the Carolina Panthers (2005) and Baltimore Ravens (2006). For his career, Alexander has totaled 111 games played with 16 starts, 154 tackles (95 solo), nine sacks, three forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries and six passes defensed. A standout special teams performer, he has also recorded 94 special teams stops over his career.

The 6-foot-1, 245-pounder was voted as the NFC’s special teams representative for the Pro Bowl after he posted 31 special teams tackles in 2012. On defense that season, Alexander added a career-high 2.5 sacks and 26 tackles (17 solo).

Off the field, Alexander was named the Redskins’ Walter Payton Man of the Year Award nominee twice (2010-11) during his tenure with the team. He was also named as the recipient of Washington’s Media Good Guy Award in both 2011 and 2012.

A native of Berkeley, Calif., Alexander attended California, where he was a two-time honorable mention All-Pac 10 selection as a defensive lineman.

To make room on the roster, the Raiders have waived LB Horace Miller.

Press Release Courtesy of the Oakland Raiders Media Relations