Quarterback Derek Carr and Running Back Latavius Murray
Latavius Murray played his college football at the University of Central Florida, and it looks like his return to the Sunshine State this weekend could also coincide with his return to the football field.
The Raiders starting running back has missed the past two games battling a toe injury, but Wednesday afternoon, Murray returned to the practice field, albeit it in a limited capacity.
Before Wednesday's session, Murray talked about his goals for his day back in pads.
"Just go out there, again, be honest, get a feel," said Murray. "Communicate with the trainers. I have no doubt that it should be a good day for me."
In Murray's absence, the Silver and Black averaged 77 rushing yards per game, and while the rookie tandem of Jalen Richard and DeAndré Washington performed admirably in No. 28's absence, the return of the powerful back makes the running back group as a whole all the more complete.
"Latavius is a great player," tackle Matt McCants said. "We're fortunate enough to have a great running back room, and we're a collection of guys, so with Latavius back, it's really going to help bolster us back to where we know we're capable of being. With Jamize [Olawale] as well in that group, like I said, you have four talented guys – five if you include Taiwan [Jones] – that are capable backs. When you're fortunate enough as a team to have that, you're blessed. You count yourselves as blessed."
Prior to his recent injury, Murray had not missed a game since the latter stages of the 2014 season, and for Murray – who prides himself on his durability – being on the sideline for even a brief time proved challenging.
"I never want to be out," Murray said. "I want to be in there, obviously, every time we step on the field, so it's difficult. I know it's a part of the game. Again, I'm ready to be back out there."
If Murray is indeed able to return to the field Sunday afternoon at EverBank Field against the Jacksonville Jaguars, he'll do so in front of an assembled group of friends and family, making his return to the field all the more rewarding.
"I have a lot of family in Florida, and obviously, I played not too far down the road," Murray said. "It's going to be cool to get a chance to play in front of some of my family, so it'll be fun."
Not only will he have friends in the stands, but he'll also have one on the opposing sideline in Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles. The pair played together collegiately at UCF for two seasons, securing a 10-4 record in 2012, and ending the season with a 38-17 win over Ball State in the Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl.
"It's going to be cool to see," Murray said of squaring off against his former college teammate. "I'm extremely happy for him. He's the enemy. I'd to see him throw a few balls to our guy's way. Again, it's going to be a tough matchup. They have a good defense. We're excited for the challenge."
G/T Vadal Alexander – Ankle – Did not participate
G/C – Jon Feliciano – Calf – Limited
C – Rodney Hudson – Knee – Limited
G – Gabe Jackson – Knee – Limited
RB – Taiwan Jones – Knee – Limited
S – Brynden Trawick – Shoulder – Did not participate
T – Menelik Watson – Calf – Limited
-While Latavius Murray's return earned a majority of the fanfare Wednesday afternoon, he was not the only injured Raider to return to practice. Tackle Menelik Watson was also back on the field for Wednesday's session, marking the first time he's been a participant in just over two weeks.
-While Murray and Watson were back at practice Wednesday, the same could not be said for safety Brynden Trawick, who missed the afternoon's work.
-A multitude of players wore pink during the team's Week 6 matchup with the Kansas City Chiefs in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and the trend continued Wednesday, with many of the Raiders – including rookie safety Karl Joseph – sporting pink cleats, gloves, and towels.
Head Coach Jack Del Rio talks about the confidence the Raiders play with on the road:
"I think we feel like we're a good football team. We've been able to travel well and play well and we look forward to the next opportunity. Regardless of where we're playing, we expect to play well. So, regardless of the time slot, for whatever reason the league likes us in that early time slot out there, it does make for a better turnaround for the next week when we get back home. But, we just kind of take them as they come and next up is Jacksonville."
The Raiders will spend the week in Florida between Week 7 and Week 8, but no, according to Derek Carr, he and Amari Cooper won't be rooming together:
"Nope. Coop's not invited. (laughing) Coop's not invited."
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