After a revolving door of players tasked with return duties for the Oakland Raiders, the team signed wide receiver Walt Powell Saturday to hopefully shore up the job for the Silver and Black.
The team selected Florida wide receiver Andre Debose in the 7th round (No. 221 overall) of the 2015 NFL Draft in the hopes that the speedster would grab a hold of the return jobs, but an offseason injury forced him to Injured Reserve before he was really given the shot.
Enter TJ Carrie, who after finding some success in the return game as a rookie, was thrust back into the role this season, but was eventually forced out of commission due to injury.
With Taiwan Jones still on the shelf recovering from an injury of his own, the return jobs have been in flux, with players from Amari Cooper to Roy Helu, Jr., all getting a shot back deep, but Powell is hoping that his presence can add some consistency to the position.
"I'm just real excited, real blessed to be a part of this team because it's a great organization," said Powell Tuesday. "They need some returners, so hopefully I can be a spark for the team."
While Powell does have limited experience, suiting up in just four games in his short NFL career, he has been effective when given the opportunity, returning eight kickoffs for 233 yards (29.1 avg.) and 12 punts for 48 yards (4.0 avg.).
While he is looking forward to being given his shot and proving he has what it takes to handle the Raiders return duties, for now the Murray State-product is just focused on getting comfortable with his new teammates.
"All teams are different," Powell said. "You just have to study and just get a feel for the guys who are blocking for you because at the end of the day, those are the guys you have to run behind. Just have to build a good relationship with each of the guys and go from there."
That being said, Powell remains confident in his abilities, whenever the opportunities do arise.
"Whenever I get the ball in my hands I try to make a play," Powell said. "So hopefully I'll get some opportunities and make the best of them."
His first opportunity could come as soon as Sunday when the Raiders travel to San Diego to take on the Chargers.
Kickoff is scheduled for 1:05 p.m.