Marcell Ateman discusses elevation to 53-man roster

Marcell Ateman won't be watching on TV anymore.

For the first six weeks of the regular season, whenever the Oakland Raiders played away from the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, the rookie wide receiver – and the other nine members of the team's practice squad – watched from home.

But that won't be the case anymore, as Ateman will pack his bags and travel with the team going forward, as he now owns a spot on the active roster.

"It's been cool; I just found out, basically yesterday," said Ateman Wednesday. "It's just an exciting feeling, blessed, knowing that, like they said, anything can happen, you can be moved up, so you just have to be ready, man. It's a great feeling."

Before Ateman packs his bags for his first NFL road trip, he and the rest of his Raiders teammates are set to take on the Indianapolis Colts Sunday afternoon at the OACC, in a game that both teams desperately need.

And not only will No. 88 likely make his pro debut against the Colts, with Amari Cooper now residing in Dallas, the rookie will be asked to contribute too.

"I feel like watching Jordy [Nelson] and all the other guys, they see it a lot," Ateman said when discussing the makeup of the wide receivers room sans Cooper. "I'm feeding off their energy. They're just like, 'he's gone; you're up. You have to go.' It sucks we lose a guy, but it just keeps going."

After a productive career at Oklahoma State, the Silver and Black selected Ateman in the seventh round (No. 228 overall) in this year's draft, and while he eventually found a home on the team's practice squad, it certainly wasn't because of a lack of production throughout the offseason program and preseason.

"He [Ateman] had a great [training] camp," Jordy Nelson explained. "Obviously, I think it just came down to numbers when they put him on practice squad, but the guy can make plays. Big body, very smart in the classroom, takes his job very seriously. I think a lot of young guys can kind of tail off once they get put on practice squad, and don't have that focus, and that hasn't happened with him, or any of the guys we have here, because just like that, you can be called up, and expected to go out on Sunday and make plays. Excited for him, and looking forward to seeing what he can do."

During his four preseason appearances, Ateman hauled in 12 catches for 139 yards, and that productivity – albeit it during the summer, has given the rookie a boost of confidence headed into Sunday's Week 8 clash.

"Just because from camp, making plays, and just being here in practice, still making plays during practice, and everything like that, I still had that confidence," Ateman said. "I just always stay ready, whenever it comes, if it was to come, I was going to be ready, so now it's here."

Indeed it is.

Kickoff against the Colts is scheduled for 1:05 pm PST Sunday.

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