By signing with the Raiders on Friday, Maurice Jones-Drew gave himself a chance to resurrect his career with the team he grew up rooting for. The Oakland native and former Antioch resident doesn't plan to waste his first regular snaps in front of friends and family since he starred for De La Salle High.
"It's going to be a competition, and that's really all I ask," Jones-Drew said of being told that he'll get a chance to earn the starting job at running back. " ... I only wanted a chance to compete and play. The Raiders gave me that opportunity, and I'm going to take it and run with it."
Jones-Drew, 29, signed a three-year contract with the Raiders, making him the latest big-name free agent to join the Raiders as part of their massive roster makeover.
He brings with him an impressive resume, having amassed 10,944 yards and 79 touchdowns rushing and receiving in his first eight NFL seasons, all with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Jones-Drew said he also brings a chip on his shoulder, something he feels makes him fit right in with a Raiders roster chock full of castoffs from other teams.
"It's something that's going to drive us and push us to that next level," Jones-Drew said in a conference call.
Jones-Drew said he received interest from other teams since the start of free agency. However, he wasn't interested in mentoring younger players or being a backup.
Jones-Drew made the most of his opportunity with the Jaguars once he earned the starting job. He rushed for 4,321 yards and 28 touchdowns and caught 130 passes from 2009-11.
Injuries each of the past two seasons hampered Jones-Drew, he said, and a surgery in 2012 might have scared off teams from taking a chance on him this offseason.
Jones-Drew acknowledged that he had a down year last season, when he averaged a career-low 3.4 yards rushing. However, he said a lot of that owed to playing injured so often. He's healthy and ready to go now.
"I have a ton left in my game," Jones-Drew said. "People tend to look at running backs and say, 'Oh, you're 29, you don't have anything left.' ... I feel like I have a ton left in the tank, and I get an opportunity to show that here in Oakland."
Jones-Drew said he is excited about the prospect of competing against incumbent starter Darren McFadden.
"He kind of has a leg up on me because he's been in this offense already before," Jones-Drew said. "My job is to come in and to compete to play. ... We both have something to prove, and that will help us all out in the long run, competing and being able to push each other."
Jones-Drew also welcomes the challenge of helping the Raiders end a playoff drought that extends 11 seasons.
The Raiders last won more games in a season than they lost back in 2002, when they advanced to the Super Bowl, where they were blown out by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
"We have a chance to compete for a division (title) and compete for the playoffs. That's what you really want to play for, to be a part of that building process, not necessarily for a team that's already there."
"It feels great to be a Raider," Wilson said in a team release. "I'm excited to help the team win and ready to come make some noise."
Also, defensive tackle Pat Sims re-signed with the Raiders, according to a tweet from Sims' agent.
Sims, 28, started all 16 games for the Raiders last season. He is expected to compete for playing time with recent acquisition Antonio Smith and holdover Stacy McGee.