Raiders sign WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh

The Oakland Raiders signed former Baltimore Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh today following a successful tryout. The move reunited Raiders quarterback Carson Palmer with his former receiver. Houshmandzadeh played for Raiders coach Hue Jackson in Cincinnati when Jackson was the Bengals' receivers coach.

Houshmandzadeh told Scout over the summer that he expected to get a new job eventually.

"I didn't have a good year and I dropped a ball that really mattered," Houshmandzadeh said. "I'll be playing football, I know that. It's a matter of when and where. I'll prove it to people all over again. My agent and I have been talking to several teams. I'll be playing somewhere."

The last time wide receiver Houshmandzadeh donned a Ravens uniform typified his season of frustration.

An accurate Joe Flacco pass glanced off of Houshmandzadeh's body, falling to the ground for a pivotal drop during the fourth quarter of the Ravens' playoff loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. The play still haunts Houshmandzadeh months later as he ponders where he'll play next season.

"I wish things had ended better," Houshmandzadeh said. "I'm not a guy who drops the ball, but I dropped a ball that really matters. Last year was a really bad year for me on the field. "The last two years have been the most disappointing years I've had. I know people will say I can't play no more. If I get to the right team, I'll shock a lot of people."

Signed to a one-year contract by the Ravens after being cut by the Seattle Seahawks, Houshmandzadeh wasn't accustomed to assuming a complementary role.

Playing behind starters Anquan Boldin and Derrick Mason, the former Cincinnati Bengals Pro Bowl selection caught just 30 passes for 398 yards and three touchdowns. Houshmandzadeh, 33, has caught 616 career passes for 7,091 yards and 43 touchdowns. The California native insists there's plenty left in his tank.

"I'm so eager to show people what I can do because I feel really good right now," Houshmandzadeh said. "Last year at this time, I was rehabbing from my fourth hernia surgery and I was trying to manage the hernia. Now, I'm able to really work out and do explosive things."

Houshmandzadeh only played one year of high school football prior to enrolling at junior college and then Oregon State before making the Bengals as a seventh-round draft pick. "I played longer than anybody ever thought I would play," he said. "I've been lucky, I've been blessed. If I didn't act the way I acted and have the fire I had and be as competitive as I am, I would have never made it.

"I've always had that attitude that I believe I'm better than you. ... Sometimes, it rubs people the wrong way [but] if you don't believe in yourself, nobody else will."

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