ALAMEDA -- The Raiders' signings of defensive ends Justin Tuck and LaMarr Woodley on Thursday do more than improve the team's pass rush from both sides.

It restores some credibility to a wounded franchise.

By adding two accomplished defenders with championship credentials, the Raiders helped lift the mood at the facility a day after offensive lineman Rodger Saffold failed a physical and ended up re-signing with the St. Louis Rams.

Tuck, who had 11 sacks last season and has 601/2 in a nine-year career with the New York Giants, was on board Thursday morning and told reporters in a conference call he was lobbying both Woodley (Pittsburgh Steelers) and Jason Hatcher (Dallas Cowboys) to join him.

A few hours later, the Raiders announced Woodley had signed, as well. Hatcher, whose visit coincided with Tuck and Woodley, announced on his Twitter account he had signed with the Washington Redskins.

Woodley, 29, who has 57 career sacks in seven seasons as a 6-foot-2, 265-pound linebacker in the Steelers' 3-4 defensive scheme, will play defensive end opposite Tuck for the Raiders.

Tuck played a key role on two Giants' Super Bowl winners, and Woodley won a ring with the Steelers. The Raiders got both players for less than it cost the Chicago Bears to sign defensive end Lamarr Houston, who left Oakland as an unrestricted free agent.


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"If we can get guys like that who are used to winning and know what it takes to win, that would help us rebuild this thing," Tuck said in a conference call with Bay Area reporters.

According to ESPN, Tuck's two-year contract was worth a maximum of $11 million, with Woodley also signing for two years and potentially $12 million.

Tuck conceded he was surprised to find himself continuing his career on the other side of the country.

"Last week, I absolutely did not see it coming," Tuck said. "It wasn't necessarily on my radar, but everything accelerated pretty quickly, and I'm excited. I really like the direction this team is talking about going in, and I just want to be part of it."

Woodley found himself inundated with messages from Raiders fans on Twitter, and his excitement grew when he learned how he would be used after talking with coach Dennis Allen.

"Here they're going to use me as a defensive end," Woodley said by conference call. "I don't feel it's any different than being a 3-4 outside linebacker where you're still kind of a defensive end. The only thing about the 3-4, you're asked to drop back and cover receivers and you're standing up rushing.

"But you still have to play the run, you still have to get after the quarterback, and that's no different than a 4-3 end except your hand is in the dirt."

The hope is Tuck and Woodley upgrade a Raiders pass rush that hasn't had a player in double-digit sacks since Derrick Burgess had 11 and Warren Sapp 10 in 2006. The team sack leader the past two seasons, Houston, had 10½ sacks in both seasons combined.

Tuck, 30, is convinced he still has plenty to offer.

"Everyone talks about once you turn 30, it's all downhill," Tuck said. "I don't believe that. I don't look at myself in that regard. I feel like I have a lot of great football left in me."

Tuck and Woodley go a long way toward rebuilding the Raiders' defensive line. None of last year's four starters is currently on the roster, with Houston signing with the Bears and starting tackles Vaughn Walker and Pat Sims and left end Jason Hunter are all unrestricted free agents.

"I feel we bring leadership and experience to this defense," Woodley said. "We know what it's like to be on a winning team, and we know what it takes to get there. I think we're both proven guys ... when we're 100 percent and out on the field, we bring it."

  • Left tackle Donald Penn, released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, was flying to Oakland on Thursday night to meet with the Raiders, according to ESPN and the NFL Network. Penn, 6-foot-5 and 340 pounds, was as seven-year starter for the Bucs.

    INSIDE
    Why
    Saffold failed Raiders' physical, passed Rams'. PAGE 5

    Kawakami: Botched Saffold move yet another misstep by McKenzie. PAGE 5

    Tuck
    Lineman won two Super Bowls, had 601/2 sacks with Giants.

    Woodley
    He won a Super Bowl, recorded
    57 sacks with Steelers.