One former Dallas Cowboys player is taking his talents to the Bay Area.
After sitting out the first wave of free agency, the Oakland Raiders signed former Dallas Cowboys linebacker Kyle Wilber to a two year deal.
With the departure of middle linebacker Navorro Bowman from their defense, the Raiders were busy in free agency inking former Detroit Lions linebacker Tahir Whitehead, former Kansas City Chiefs middle linebacker Derrick Johnson to compete for jobs, along with Wilber in their defensive linebacker corps.
With the Raiders still looking to fill out their linebacker rotation for the upcoming season, Wilber sees an opportunity to be to able to compete and contribute on the field as a three down player.
During his time with the Dallas Cowboys, Wilber had been viewed as one of their special teams standouts during his six seasons in the NFL. On the defensive side of the ball, Wilber has only started one game during the last two seasons.
“It was a difficult decision for me to leave the Cowboys,” Wilber said. “When weighing it all out, I had to look at everything. I believe joining Oakland is the best fit for me on many levels. With the Raiders, I will have an opportunity to play more and compete for one of the jobs at linebacker.”
When Jon Gruden made the decision to return to the sideline, one of the coaches he had his sights on was reuniting with Special Teams Coordinator Rich Bisaccia. The two coaches worked together in Tampa Bay and won a Super Bowl together during their time with the Buccaneers.
In the off-season, Bisaccia has joined the Raiders and holds the position of Assistant Coach and Special Teams Coordinator. He has played a part in bringing in players that he has had success with in the past, from former Dallas Cowboys, wide receiver and punt returner, Dwayne Harris, fullback Keith Smith and Kyle Wilber are a part of this group of players. The Raiders also made a draft day trade with the Cowboys adding second year wideout Ryan Switzer to their depth chart.
The 28-year-old Wilber has played in 89 career games at linebacker, totaling 119 career tackles, five forced fumbles and 3.5 sacks. His best season on the defensive side of the ball came in 2013 when he had 44 combined tackles, three for loss, two sacks and a forced fumble.
His off-season has been busy from organizing his move to the the Bay Area (California) keeping in game shape, participating in football camps (such as Tyrone Crawford’s Windsor’s Finest Football Academy) to taking time to enjoy one of his favorite pastimes which is hiking.
“I really like hiking,” Wilber said. “I find it is like goals in your life. Its rough and tough, you are going to get tired and feel challenged. But just like your goals when you achieve them on your hike and you get to the top, it is all worth it. There is just something bigger outside of yourself when you get to the top.”
With training camp getting underway for the Raiders, Wilber is excited to get started and play for new head coach John Gruden.
“We have a great situation with coach Jon Gruden,” Wilber said. “He is going to be changing things and doing things his way. At the end of the day, he just wants to win football games.”
The Raiders take the field for their first preseason game at home on August 10, hosting the Detroit Lions at 10:30 p.m. EST.