Stubblefield feeling welcomed in East Bay

"It's always good to know that a team wants you. These guys wanted me. All of the coaches did and I'm excited that I came over. That makes it easier because I'm where I'm wanted." -- Raiders defensive tackle Dana Stubblefield

For better or for worse – defensive tackle Dana Stubblefield is on "the other side."

As in the other side of the Bay.

"Oh yeah, Silver & Black," Stubblefield said. "I'm officially on the other side – Raider Nation."

Stubblefield was referring to becoming the latest ex-San Francisco 49er to hop across the Bay to the Oakland Raiders, who signed him on March 12. The 49ers released Stubblefield in a salary cap move in late February.

Stubblefield joins wide receiver Jerry Rice, running back Charlie Garner, linebacker Bill Romanowski and safety Rod Woodson in the company of those with 49er roots to jump across the Bay and join the Raiders.

Acquiring Stubblefield became a priority after the Raiders released Sam Adams, who has since become a Buffalo Bill. Stubblefield's acquisition, in effect, offsets the loss of Adams. Stubblefield is projected to start alongside John Parrella with Rod Coleman being the third man in the rotation.

Stubblefield spent two separate stints as a 49er. The question for the Raiders is, which one will they get? The one from the first or second stint? While Stubblefield may not be a dominant force, Oakland hopes it more closely resembles the first.

Stubblefield returned to San Francisco, where he played from 1993-1997, after a three-year hiatus with the Washington Redskins that was mostly a disappointment.

Washington released Stubblefield because of salary cap considerations and he rejoined the San Francisco, where he had his best seasons paired with Bryant Young. Stubblefield was named to the Pro Bowl squad in 1995, 1995 and 1997 and ranks third on the all-time San Francisco sack list, with 53. Stubblefield has played in 146 games and has 416 tackles and eight forced fumbles.

Stubblefield recorded 15 sacks on the way to earning NFL Defensive Player of the Year honors in 1997 but has not come close to approaching that form.

"It's always good to know that a team wants you," Stubblefield said. "These guys wanted me. All of the coaches did and I'm excited that I came over. That makes it easier because I'm where I'm wanted."

Vince D'Adamo can be reached via e-mail at vdad7@yahoo.com


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