Raiders reportedly sign Phifer

ESPN is reporting that the Raiders have signed linebacker Roman Phifer, a move that would significantly improve Oakland's defense and add a championship flavor to the team if it indeed proves to be true. Phifer started every game last season for the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots.

 Phifer would be the third veteran linebacker to join the Raiders since free agency began in February. Bill Romanowski and Gerald Dixon signed with the Raiders earlier and will join Phifer in what is expected to be a heated battle for the two vacant outside linebacking jobs in Oakland. William Thomas started for the Raiders last season but retired following the playoff loss to the Patriots while Elijah Alexander was released by Oakland shortly after being made available -- but not picked up -- in the expansion draft.

Phifer, 34, had his best season since 1996 when he recorded 92 tackles, two sacks, two forced fumbles and an interception for the Patriots last year. He also spent some time at defensive end, a spot Oakland has gotten little production from in recent years.

While neither the Raiders nor Phifer's agent could be reached for comment to verify the deal, it is known that Phifer visited the Raiders on Tuesday.

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