Nearly 10 months after his dropped pass ended Baltimore’s playoff chances, Houshmandzadeh is back in the NFL with Oakland, hoping a reunion with his old quarterback and his former position coach will help lead the Raiders to the playoffs.
“That was the biggest reason (for) me going to Baltimore last year and, again, when it mattered, I dropped the ball,” he said yesterday. “That’s something I really don’t do, so I’m eager to get that behind me also.”
Houshmandzadeh practiced for the first time with the discount jerseys Raiders a day after signing. But he needed no introductions to quarterback Carson Palmer, his teammate for six seasons in Cincinnati and longtime offseason workout partner, or coach Hue Jackson, his receivers coach for three years with the Bengals.
“(Familiarity) plays a part in it. That wasn’t a total part,” Jackson said. “I got a group of young guys who are very, very talented, and having somebody that you can really look to, that can show you a little bit of the rope of what it’s like of being a pro in this league, week in and week out, day in and day out, will make a difference with this football team.”
Houshmandzadeh averaged 89 catches over a five-year span in Cincinnati. His best season came in 2007, when he caught a career-high 112 passes for 1,143 yards and 12 touchdowns.
“He’s really another quarterback on the field,” Palmer said. “He knows more about offensive and defensive football than any non-quarterback I’ve ever been around. He understands concepts, he understands schemes, alignments, all the little things a lot of receivers overlook. He’s a student of the game and it’s going to be a really big help, especially for these young guys to have him around.”
Benson rejoins Bengals
Bengals running back Cedric Benson was activated to the 53-man roster after serving a one-game suspension for violating the league’s personal-conduct policy.
The suspension, which was reduced from its original three games, was a result of two assault charges Benson has faced the past two years that have since been settled.
The Bengals waived cornerback Morgan Trent to make room for Benson on the roster.