The Raiders signed versatile running back Roy Helu, Jr. Wednesday.
Helu, who spent the past four seasons with the Washington Redskins, appeared in 48 games with five starts, rushing for 1,132 yards on 255 carries (4.4 avg.) and seven touchdowns. He also added 1,152 receiving yards on 129 receptions (8.9 avg.) and three touchdowns, and since 2011 his 8.9 yards per catch rank seventh in the NFL amongst all running backs.
"I wanted to be a part of something bigger than myself again and landing here was another, I consider, a very unique opportunity," Helu, Jr. said. "Coach Musgrave has an offensive background that seems to blend with a couple [styles] like a traditional offense and some spread. It was pretty appealing and it will be interesting to see how everything comes together once we get the team together here."
Joining the Silver and Black also signifies a return home for Helu, Jr. who grew up in nearby Danville, Calif., but has not lived in the Bay Area since he was 18.
Photos of new Raiders running back, Roy Helu, Jr.
"It's appealing, really, just to return to familiarity, and with my family being in close proximity, their support and their support of my family with my wife and our kids," he said. "There was a lot of appeal to come back."
After attending San Ramon Valley High School as a standout football star, Helu attended college at the University of Nebraska, where he played in 48 games, making 28 starts, totaling 578 rushes for 3,404 rushing yards (5.9 avg.) and 28 touchdowns.
When his collegiate career came to an end, Helu declared for the NFL Draft and was selected in the fourth round (No. 105 overall) by the Washington Redskins in the 2011 draft.
The former Cornhusker enjoyed an impressive rookie campaign, rushing for 640 yards and adding another 379 receiving yards to his total, resulting in him being named to the Pro Football Writers Association's All-Rookie Team.
Helu proved to be a valuable asset out the backfield for the Redskins, and in 2014 he enjoyed a career year, setting a career high with 477 receiving yards, an 11.4 receiving average, and two receiving touchdowns.
"God blessed me with that skillset of good hand-eye coordination," Helu said when talking about his pass-catching ability. "But I wasn't nearly as good, to make it simple, as a pass receiver until I started really refining and sharpening my hands and my eyes, my hand-eye coordination, within these last couple years."
The Danville-native is looking forward to joining the Silver and Black, and during his conversations with the coaching staff, sees the desire to turn things around in Oakland.
"They are sold into turning this around as if it's been their life goal and vision to actually have this opportunity to do so," he said. "Honestly, what I have bought into and I believe to be true is that what is going to make a difference is this offensive scheme that we're going to be a part of."