A Treu-ly unselfish and valuable Raider

Oakland Raiders center/longsnapper Adam Treu has been here before. Show you're good enough to be a fulltime center only to give way to someone else.

Treu, who is the longest current tenured player on the Oakland Raiders roster, started all 16 games last season at center coupled with his regular duties of longsnapping.

Just don't count on that scenario from happening again in 2005 as second-year man Jake Grove is slated to supplant Treu as the starting center. Treu learned of the news when head coach Norv Turner called him into his office last March before the owner's meeting.

"It's happened a couple of times so I wasn't real surprised," Treu said. "I had a pretty good inclination right there what was happening. I appreciate the fact that he told me that. My history shows that I'm going to do what's best for this team."

This says a lot about Treu, who was almost exclusively a longsnapper for his first four NFL seasons. Longsnapping has been Treu meal ticket since the Raiders drafted him in the third round from Nebraska in 1997. Treu got his chance to become a starting center when Barret Robbins sustained a season-ending knee injury in Game 2 of the 2001 season. Robbins then recovered and regained the job in 2002.

With Robbins personal and physical troubles staggering him, the job appeared to belong to Treu but he eventually lost out to Matt Stinchcomb, who lasted three games before Robbins was reinserted into the lineup. Robbins then suffered a season ending knee injury and Treu started the last four games and all 16 last season.

Oakland, however, drafted Grove in the second round last season. Grove, a center by trade, ended up starting at guard in the second half of the season. Oakland, however, drafted Grove with the idea of making him the starting center.

Another reason for Treu constantly being shuffled is because most coaches are reluctant to have starting linemen double as longsnappers because of the constant hand abuse. Turner had no concern with Treu pulling double-duty unlike former Raider head coaches Jon Gruden and Bill Callahan.

"It took a while to get over the decision but this is the first summer I was able to think about having nine years in the league as a long snapper," Treu said. "We had a baby boy (Kemper) on February 3; I know my wife appreciates my being around the house a little more during the offseason."

In addition, since Treu knows the Raiders didn't draft him to ride the pine; he is more than willing to help Grove.

"We're all in this together," Treu said. "I've got nothing against him. He's a great guy. Anything I can help him with, I'll try to."

Even though Treu has been through gaining and losing his starting job, the organization continues appreciate his services. Treu is signed until the 2009 season.

"I haven't come to the end of a contract since I've been here," Treu said. "That's fairly unprecedented."

Treu has been through many highs (2000-2002) and lows (1997, 2003-2004) as a Raider.

"I think the makeover came about a little faster than maybe when Jon (Gruden) was here," Treu said. "We've got bad apples that are out of here and replaced with good quality guys. I'm pretty excited about our unity and chemistry. There's no real jerks on the team. Everybody gets along real well."

Vince D'Adamo can be reached at vdad7@yahoo.com

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