FOX5 (LAS VEGAS) -- The Raiders defensive line was a big question mark heading into this past offseason. Mike Mayock and Jon Gruden made a couple big splashes at the start of free agency signing defensive end Yannick Ngakoue and defensive tackle Quinton Jefferson. However, they didn't stop there, signing defensive tackle Gerald McCoy during training camp. On Sunday, McCoy played his first game in nearly two years.
"I talked to Gerald during the game, after the game, how he was doing," said Raiders head coach Jon Gruden. "It was great to see him out there. He had a tough injury, he didn't play last year, we've been smart with him and I thought this was a really good step in the right direction for him and really positive results I think."
"Been getting reps here and there, but (Sunday) was like throw me in the fire," said McCoy. "I felt great, my legs felt great, no pain in the knee, knocking the rust off felt really good. I was just back in my element and after a while it was like instead of thinking about it, it was like let's go."
The former third overall pick in the 2010 NFL draft, singed a three-year deal with the Dallas Cowboys during the 2020 offseason. However, a quadriceps injury suffered during training camp kept him from ever playing and eventually he was waived. Sunday was his first game in 609 days and not only did he feel good physically, it reinforced his decision to sign in Las Vegas.
"If anything I feel even better about it," said McCoy. "Just watching how guys competed against the Rams in practice, in the game, no matter who's on the field. When you've been doing this for as long as I have, more than just the result you look at the fight and how guys push through adversity. We didn't have a lot of guys today, but guys were fighting, regardless of how long they had to play, how many snaps you had to play, guys were fighting and when you can have a team full of guys that are doing that, it can take you a long way."
The 33-year old has 59.5 sacks to his name and 334 tackles under his belt. McCoy says he can still make a difference on the field, but his impact will be on the younger guys in the locker room.
"One of the best groups I've been around, the thing about this group that I love the most is the competition, they compete in everything," said McCoy. "Whether it's the get-offs in individual, individual with Rod Marinelli is no joke, but guys are competing like, 'let me see if I can be first in this,' and guys are making sure if we're going to lift, even if it's optional, if somebody doesn't come tot he optional lift we give them a hard time. It's always competition and all it is, is pushing guys to be great and with this group and the talent that they already have, when you have that type of drive, the sky is the limit."