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Player Profile: Kevin Boothe



OL Kevin Boothe. Photo by Tony Gonzales

He has come full circle. Offensive lineman Kevin Boothe has found his way back to Oakland where his NFL career began. In 2006, the 6-5, 325-pounder was drafted by the Raiders in the 6th round out of Cornell University. He started 14 games at guard for the Silver and Black as a rookie.

Boothe continued his career with the New York Giants from 2007-2013, playing in 89 regular season games and winning two Super Bowls. At the conclusion of the 2013 season, the versatile lineman became a free agent, and when his former team called, Boothe returned to where he started his career.

"It's awesome. I know that it's a unique experience," said Boothe. "Not a lot of people are able to return to the team that originally drafted them so the Raiders have always held a special place in my heart being that they're the team that drafted me. Seemed like yesterday that I was walking out onto these practice fields for the first time."

Despite being away for seven years, he never forgot what it felt like to play in front of Raider Nation. "That's one of the things that's still pretty vivid in my mind prior to re-signing was just the atmosphere in that stadium, in the Coliseum, on Sundays," said Boothe. "And not only that, but also just in the community. The fan support here has always been great and it continues to be great and that hasn't changed at all. It's definitely been exciting coming back. They've embraced me with open arms and very excited to be back. I know my son is definitely excited to see the fans dressed up and he wants to dress up too for the games."

Boothe returns a much different player and person this time around. With eight NFL seasons under his belt, the Queens, New York-native comes back to Oakland with experience and knowledge to impart on the younger players. "Obviously, my role here is a lot different than it was in 2006 in terms of leadership, somebody who's been around and played in a lot of games and been part of some successful teams," said Boothe. "I try to add my knowledge and my playing ability as much as I can."

Having experienced the NFL as both a starter and a backup, Boothe has always prepared as if he will start every Sunday. In 2011 with the Giants, Boothe started at three different positions on the offensive line, proving preparation is one of the biggest keys in the NFL.



Boothe blocks for Marques Tuiasosopo in his first stint with the Raiders in 2006.


One of the greatest lessons Boothe learned during his time away from Oakland was understanding what it feels like to win. "The feeling of winning at that level is something you can't really describe. I still can't put it into words," said Boothe. "But it's a feeling you immediately want again. As long as you play, that's the ultimate goal and the desire to win, I think, increases after you've experienced it because it is such an amazing feeling."

The Giants first Super Bowl victory came against an undefeated New England Patriots squad. And then in 2011, New York barely made the playoffs, winning three of their last four for a 9-7 record, and then beat the Patriots again for their second ring in five years. "There are probably teams I've been on that have had better regular seasons than those two Super Bowl teams, but those two teams were very scrappy and they kept fighting," said Boothe. "We literally had to scratch and claw to get into the playoffs down to the last week or two of the season just to get in and it boiled down to playing our best football as the year went on. That's always the key in this game."

The veteran lineman, who grew up in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., initially learned the value of hard work and embracing winning moments at a high level during his time at Cornell. "Things aren't easy. You had to work for everything there," said Boothe. "We didn't necessarily have the best players or the best teams, but some of my most gratifying years were at Cornell because of the hard work we put in. It made those victories that much more sweet. I think the same goes for the NFL, it's all about the journey. It's those times out here at practice and spending time in the locker room with those guys and preparing for those games and appreciating the journey towards the games and the wins."

Working hard and putting in maximum effort is something that has carried over the last few months in his time under offensive line coach, and now Interim Head Coach, Tony Sparano. Boothe believes the impact Coach Sparano has had on him and the O-line can transfer to the whole team.

"He's constantly looking for ways to improve and I feel as though I've improved a lot in the few months that I've been able to work with him," Boothe explained. "I think that's going to carry over to the team. There's no gray area. He tells you exactly how things are and how he expects them to be done. He's all about helping us improve. I think that the guys are embracing it, the guys that don't know him on a day-to-day basis but will get to know him in a short time, they realize that he's all about work and preparing us to do our job on Sundays."

The Raiders have 12 weeks to find a way to win and Boothe brings the passion, knowledge and determination necessary to make that happen.

Nine seasons into his career, with both winning and losing seasons behind him, Boothe still embraces and appreciates every day he has in this league. "I think this is unlike any other profession in terms of the team aspect of needing all players, all 11 players, to operate on the same page in order to be successful," he said. "Also, just the camaraderie of the locker room and the team itself, I think that's often overlooked in this sport. It's truly special and it's something I'll definitely remember for the rest of my life."

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