Roy Helu, Jr. Feels Right at Home

RB Roy Helu, Jr. joined the Raiders through free agency in March. Here's a look at photos from the offseason program so far.

Roy Helu, Jr. never expected to be back with a Bay Area team when free agency began, but it has been a pleasant surprise. Although the veteran running back did not grow up a Raiders fan, it hasn't dampened his excitement about the opportunity to wear the Silver and Black.

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"This is the most excited I've been to play football in the NFL thus far," Helu, Jr. said.

For someone who has already played a great deal of football so far, that's quite a statement.

The veteran running back became a free agent after the 2014 season and joined the Raiders in March. He's ready for the opportunity.

"I was pulled here by interest and it wasn't from a coaching staff who came in to a team I was already on and just kept me because I was part of an experienced group of guys," said Helu, Jr. "It was me being a free agent. I could have gone to any team and them showing enough interest where I felt really comfortable to play here. It feels nice to be wanted. Everything has been going great professionally and with family."

One of the biggest draws for Helu, Jr. was the opportunity to work with Offensive Coordinator Bill Musgrave and play in his offense.

"When I came to visit back in March, what was really attractive about coming to play here was Coach Musgrave," explained Helu, Jr. "I should say it's been more confirming since I've been here just how special and unique he is as an OC because he's very cerebral. When we're in there, he'll quiz us and he'll go through and the way he explains certain concepts, for me at least, I understand it, because he'll go through pictures first, then he'll go through film, then he'll actually draw it up and then he'll talk about it. He's quizzing people; he's making stuff fun. I really respect him and it was really attractive to play for him and to play in the offense that we want to play in."

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That offense will be led by QB Derek Carr, a presence that Helu, Jr. greatly appreciates. "Once I came here, I knew who the leader was," said Helu, Jr. "Derek was that guy and I've seen how he's brought everything together. His leadership is very evident."

The Raiders are a young team, especially in the running backs room, and despite only entering his 5th season, Helu, Jr. almost qualifies as one of the "old" guys. "I know that naturally leadership roles are given to people who play well and who are experienced," he explained. "Because we have young guys in there who are really intense, and they should be because we're all competing for a job, I think just with the four years I bring to the table, I bring a fun factor. Before we go out there, I just always try to remind the guys, before we start competing, to have fun. Once we lose sight of that and just focus on doing our job, it can become heavy."

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It's why his priorities are they way there are. After speaking with Helu, Jr. after Thursday's OTAs practice, the two things most evident were his soft-spoken demeanor and his priorities -- faith, family and football.

"I just like to have fun," said Helu, Jr. "Whenever I go out there, I try to glorify God with how I play and the type of effort I give, and hopefully that shows up on film. I really enjoy playing football."

Helu, Jr. is back home. The Danville-native left the Bay Area when he was 18, and now, seven years later, has returned just down the road from where he grew up.

Helu, Jr. brings his faith wherever he goes. Now, he has his family next door and his passion for football is as great as it's ever been.

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