The Raiders signed free agent cornerback James Dockery Friday, fulfilling a lifelong dream for the former Oregon State Beaver.
Dockery grew up in Palm Desert, Calif., in a family that bled Silver and Black. His uncle, who passed away in 2002 was such a devout member of Raider Nation that he was buried in a Silver and Black casket and a Raiders blanket now rests on his grave.
"It's a dream come true," said Dockery after signing his contract. "It's very personal for me. It's not just about football. This is about my family and my community, and just an opportunity for a California kid to come back home. This means a lot."
After playing four seasons at Oregon State, Dockery went undrafted but was signed by the Cleveland Browns in 2011, playing in 12 games before signing with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2012.
He then spent the next three seasons as a Panther, appearing in seven games and posting 10 tackles (nine solo) in 2014.
Dockery's arrival in Silver and Black also allows him to fulfill another dream, a dream of playing with his favorite player growing up, Charles Woodson.
"[Woodson] is just a guy that in my opinion is the best defensive back," he said. "He's very versatile, safety, nickel, corner, and that's somebody that I've tried to model my game after. I told him in the weight room today, don't push me away because I'm going to be trying to soak up a lot of knowledge while I'm here."
Dockery is looking forward to a fresh start in Oakland, and is excited about getting on the field and putting the pads back on.
"From a football aspect, [the fans] can expect to see someone that's going to go out there and compete," he said. "I've never been the biggest, strongest or the fastest guy, but I've always been one of the most competitive people that you'll ever come across, and I intend to bring that here."
He is also eager to begin working with defensive coordinator Ken Norton, Jr., and believes that he and the Raiders are a natural fit.
"I think they're looking for guys that are high quality, high character, smart football players and I think that's where I fit," Dockery said. "I was blessed to be a part of a great defense in Carolina and I'm just looking forward to taking what I did over there and trying to bring that here and get this defense in the Top 10."