When the 90-man roster was dwindled down to the NFL mandated 53-man roster, the Oakland Raiders kept one player that came as a surprise to many of the team’s fans.
That’d be safety Dallin Leavitt.
He wasn’t on any of the roster projections, but to Raiders quarterback Derek Carr, Leavitt stood out in an important area: special teams.
“He’s taken on two guys spinning off him, making a tackle, and he’s taken on three guys and spinning off them and threw somebody and made a tackle,” Carr said. “He’s forcing people out of bounds. He’s taken people out of their lanes.
“Just his all-around effort and understanding of the scheme really on special teams is what really did it.”
Leavitt last season signed as undrafted free agent and was placed in the active roster in late December and played in two games.
“A lot of similarities in their style of play in disguising coverages,” Carr said. “I told him today, ‘I want you to disguise everything. I don’t want to know what the coverage is at all when you’re out there.’ He does a great job of it and confuses you and likes to mess with you. Just having a guy like that ... that right there won’t get press credit and get enough credit, but him doing that for me and for our team, that only makes him better, but also makes our team better. That’s invaluable to me. To be able to have a guy to say ‘Whatever you need, Derek, and whatever the team needs.’ He’s like that 100 percent. It’s no surprise why he made it.”
Antonio Brown, Xenith partner on helmet
“NFL athletes have a choice in what helmet they wear. I choose Xenith,” Brown said in a news release. “It’s not easy to make a change like this so far into your career, but the Xenith Shadow was the only helmet that could fit my needs on the field.”
Xenith said its “Xenith Shadow” is an evolution of the company’s patented Adaptive Fit technology which decouples the head from the hit. Its streamlined design improves fit and protection while increasing comfort and agility.
Brown in August lost two grievances filed against the NFL over a helmet he had used for the past nine seasons.