Strong Safety Keith McGill II
The Oakland Raiders are one week into the NFL season and own a record of 1-0, after beating the New Orleans Saints on the road. The team is currently in the final stages of its preparation for the home opener against the Atlanta Falcons this Sunday. Heading into the matchup, the Silver and Black have made a few adjustments, one of which is Keith McGill II's shift to starting strong safety.
McGill has served as one of the team's cornerbacks over the course of his three years in the league, and is a versatile player. The position change was made by Head Coach Jack Del Rio and the coaching staff because of McGill's performance through training camp and the preseason.
"This is the guy that has had the best camp," said Del Rio. This is the guy that's really earned it."
Although this is a significant adjustment for McGill, this is not the only change he's made recently. The safety has made a change on the back of his jersey from McGill to McGill II… a decision sparked by the relationship he shares with his father.
"I really did it for my dad, [I] did it for my family," said McGill. "My dad's always been on me about being the second."
McGill's father has been unable to make an appearance at a game to watch him play, and that played a large role in his decision to change his jersey.
"I just wanted to show him that even though he wasn't here he was still with me," said McGill as he smiled. The third-year player is motivated by his family, and just wants to represent his name proudly.
McGill debuted the jersey change last Sunday against the Saints, and racked up six tackles to begin the 2016 campaign. Now as the team's starting strong safety, McGill will take the field at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum this Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons, paying homage to his father, and family.
"I'm playing for more than just me, playing for more than just the team, I'm also playing for the name on my back, [and] it meant a lot to me."