Mirer, Hethrington, Martin among free agent moves
The Oakland Raiders resigned one of their own players and brought in two more from other teams. The Raiders have re-signed quarterback Rick Mirer and signed running backs Chris Hetherington and Cecil Martin. The 33-year old Mirer played for Oakland last but did not see any action during the regular season as the No. 3 quarterback. That situation is not likely to change but Mirer is a good insurance policy in case starter Rich Gannon gets hurt and No. 2 Marques Tuiasosopo, a third-year player, struggles. Mirer originally entered the NFL as the second overall selection by Seattle and was NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year in 1993. Mirer spent his first four NFL seasons with the Seahawks, and then played for the Chicago Bears in 1997, the Green Bay Packers in 1998 and the New York Jets in 1999 before joining the 49ers prior to the 2000 season. The signing of Hetherington and Martin became a priority after Oakland lost starting fullback Jon Ritchie, who was an unrestricted free agent, to Philadelphia. Hetherington, a fullback and special teams standout, played for the St. Louis Rams in 2002 after spending the 1999-2001 seasons with the Carolina Panthers. He also played three seasons with the Indianapolis Colts. The 30-year old Hetherington has played in 88 games with 11 starts He has rushed 31 times for 84 yards with two touchdowns and has caught 38 passes for 242 yards and one touchdown. In addition, he has 70 special teams tackles in his career. The 6-3, 250-pounder originally signed with the Cincinnati Bengals as an undrafted free agent in 1996. He was on the Bengals' practice squad before signing with Indianapolis during the 1996 season and played in the final six league games for the Colts. Hetherington was an option quarterback at Yale, throwing for 2,425 yards and 10 touchdowns and rushing for 932 yards. The Raiders ostensibly wound up trading Ritchie for Martin, who has spent the past four seasons with Philadelphia since entering the NFL as the Eagles' sixth round pick in 1999. He has played in 60 league contests with 38 starts at fullback in four pro seasons. Used primarily as a lead blocker in the Eagles offense and as a special teams performer, Martin has gained 103 yards on 26 rushes with 81 receptions for 491 yards and two touchdowns. The 6-0, 240-pound Martin posted a career high 31 catches in 2000 and has recorded double-digits in receptions in each of his four pro seasons. Martin attended the University of Wisconsin, where he paved the way for Heisman Trophy winner Ron Dayne. Vince D'Adamo can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com
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