Raider Nation is already aware that the Oakland Raiders got off to a slow start in the free agency during this offseason. It was a general consensus that free agents wouldn’t sign with the Raiders until one big name had committed to the silver and black. In Raider Nation’s mind, that game changer was Justin Tuck, former defensive end for the New York Giants. After Tuck signed with the Raiders, things seemed to take off and then a new Raiders team started to take form.
A new look defense that will make quarterbacks just cower. A new Raiders team flush with talent, flush with leadership and still not even done filling holes. Raider Nation, these new additions better have you tingling with excitement.
The 2014 season is going to be another highly anticipated year, but with the added caveat that the Raiders actually are deep with talent and have consistency in their coaching staff. I don’t know about you, but is the preseason here yet? Let’s see these newly acquired pieces in action! To most of the fans, Tuck was the pivotal signing in free agency. He spent the last nine seasons with the Giants having been drafted by them in the third round of the 2005 NFL Draft despite being projected as a mid-first round pick.
To date, Tuck’s career boasts 453 tackles, 60.5 quarterback sacks, 20 forced fumbles, two interceptions and one touchdown. Tuck comes to Oakland as a two time Pro Bowler, a two time all pro, and a two time Super Bowl champion. Tuck was drafted by the Giants out of Notre Dame. He redshirted in 2001 during his freshman year and went on to play sparingly in his sophomore year. Tuck logged his first collegiate sack against Michigan State University during his 180 minutes of play for the season. He was nicknamed The Freak by teammates because of his raw athleticism and still, to this day, holds several defensive records at Notre Dame.
Tuck is married to Lauran Williamson who played defensive back in the women’s intramural football team for Notre Dame and also wrote for the student newspaper. Together, the two founded Tuck’s R.U.S.H. for Literacy. The foundation’s mission is to encourage children to read, understand, succeed and hope since 2008. When it was founded in 2008, the couple wanted to bring the same opportunities that had made them successful to low income youth in New York, New Jersey, and Alabama. Their foundation is focused on literacy and it began with book distribution which then grew to include an essay contest along with supporting materials, including grant making. The grants will continue to support high performing non-profits in the literacy and financial literacy space.
ProCamps is an organization founded in 1998 that works to develop, manage and operate sports camps as well as related events for professional athletes in the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, and PGA. Tuck worked with them last year to put on a Justin Tuck Football Camp. Another program that Tuck works with is the Teach Children to Save Day, which partners banks with students in order to teach the importance of saving. More than six million students have been reached by this program. This year, Tuck spoke with students in the Children’s Aid Society again to teach the importance of saving. About 144 college savings accounts were opened that day.
Tuck expressed frustration this offseason at the lack of effort being made on the Giants part to keep him on their roster. The only offer the Giants made was approximately half of the deal that he inked with the Raiders. Tuck talked about knowing that there were holes to fill and about being sensitive to the team’s many needs. He says, “You know, at the beginning of free agency I’m going in thinking I’m not looking for a lot. I understand the Giants have a lot of holes to fill. If they were trying to sign me before free agency hit, or at least were trying to communicate with us, then I probably would’ve took somewhere around a two-year deal, $8 million. But it was like they weren’t even trying to get me back. That made my mind up for me.”
Raider Nation is much anticipating Tuck’s debut in the silver and black. He seems to be excited as well, posting on his Facebook page about how excited he is for this opportunity with the Raiders and how he can’t wait to get after the quarterback while wearing silver and black. He is definitely a welcome addition to the Raiders’ defense!