Rudd a Raider

The Oakland Raiders are trying to replenish their linebacking unit and took one step in that direction by signing veteran Dwayne Rudd.

Rudd entered the NFL in 1997 as a first round pick of Minnesota in 1997. Rudd has played in 109 games with 79 coming in a starting assignment in seven NFL seasons. He was named All-Pro in 1998 and was a member of the All-Madden Team in both 1998 and 1999.

"We're pleased to add a veteran of Dwayne's talents," said Raiders Head Coach Norv Turner in a press release. "He is an athletic, productive performer and we look forward to having Dwayne make a contribution to the Raiders in 2004."

The Raiders have lost two linebackers to free agency, starting weakside ‘backer Eric Barton (New York Jets) and backup Eric Johnson (Atlanta). The team also released Bill Romanowski while prominent backup Travian Smith had his season end on injured reserve. So signing Rudd became essential because the only sure thing at the position is third-year man Napoleon Harris.

The 28-year old Rudd spent his first four seasons with the Vikings, then played two seasons for the Cleveland Browns. He played last season for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, for whom he saw action in all 16 contests with two starts while also seeing action on special teams.

"I'm very excited about joining the Raiders and look forward to getting started," said Rudd, also in a press release. "This is an organization with great history and tradition that I'm happy to be a part of."

The 6-2, 235-pound Rudd started 31 games in two seasons with Cleveland after joining the Browns as a free agent in 2001. He led the Browns in tackles in 2001 with 122 while starting every game at outside linebacker, then ranked sixth in stops and second in tackles for loss (seven) for Cleveland in 2002.

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