Photo by Tony Gonzales
David Ausberry has put the disappointment of 2013 behind him.
Headed into last season, hopes were high that he would become a major contributor at the tight end position, but a preseason shoulder injury derailed those hopes. He was put on injured reserve and didn't play a snap of regular season football.
However, when he talked about the injury during the Raiders' offseason program, there wasn't a sense of frustration in his voice.
"That's one of those things I couldn't control," said Ausberry. "The only thing that I could control was my preparation and how was I going to go about coming out here every day. I prepared myself to come in and work hard."
As the Raiders revamp for 2014, Ausberry, a former wide receiver at the University of Southern California, is beginning his fourth season playing tight end, and the position is starting to feel more comfortable for him.
"This is my fourth year now, in between a lot of positions here, and I feel like I'm falling into it. It feels good," he said. "I'm comfortable and I feel pretty good. It's just about being consistent- everything's not consistent out there, so I'm just trying to be as consistent as possible and show up day in and day out."
Ausberry's comfort at the position isn't going unnoticed either, as Head Coach Dennis Allen said he believes that the Lemoore, Calif., native can be a viable receiving option in the upcoming season. "[David] Ausberry is a guy that we didn't have all last year and he's a guy that I think can be a real receiving threat for us," said Coach Allen.
Even though he's beginning only his fourth year wearing the Silver and Black and Ausberry is one of the more senior players on the roster, he is welcoming the new veteran presence that GM Reggie McKenzie has imparted onto the 2014 Raiders, in particular the additions of Justin Tuck and LaMarr Woodley.
"Those guys have Super Bowl rings. Anytime you're able to add that to any team, you're going to get some experience," said Ausberry. "You're going to get some leadership and it's fun to have those guys around. I'm out there having fun, picking their brain and trying to see what I can do better to elevate my game a little bit and see what I can do to push them to be the best player they can be."
As the offseason crawls along and we inch closer to the 2014 regular season, optimism in Oakland increases, and the talented tight end knows something feels different this year compared to seasons past. "Being a little older now, I know how things work. I know how things develop and I think we have something special going on here. I'm just trying to be a part of it and trying to bring as many guys along as I can and try to make this a good ride."
If Ausberry and his teammates have it their way, the ride can be one to remember for Raiders fans.