This past week, the Oakland Raiders brought back fan-favorite and Alameda, Calif. native Keelan Doss, who gained a small following through HBO’s ‘Hard Knocks,’ and proved he was the real deal during the preseason and training camp.
Doss led all receivers with 17 receptions and 162 yards. Despite that and his one touchdown, Doss was cut because the Raiders believed their depth at receiver was good enough. The Raiders offered Doss a spot on the practice squad, but he opted to join the Jacksonville Jaguars practice squad instead as he saw a better opportunity to eventually make their active roster.
After Antonio Brown forced his way out of Oakland, the Raiders quickly moved to bring Doss back, making him an offer he reportedly could not refure to assume Brown’s vacant spot on the 53-man roster.
Doss has had quite the wild week, but now he wants to go out and help the team in anyway he can, via Josh Schrock of NBC Sports Bay Area:
“Crazy, you know?” Doss said Wednesday when asked about his week. “Just being back and forth from here and Florida. It’s been a crazy week, but happy to be here, ready to contribute and go out there on Sundays and make plays.”
With J.J. Nelson dealing with a nagging ankle injury that will likely force him to miss Sunday’s Week 2 matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs, Doss will likely suit up and make his NFL debut in front of his friends and family in Oakland.
Without Brown, Tyrell Williams has emerged as the Raiders No. 1 receiving option. Unless Doss has an absolutely exceptional start to his NFL career, that is not expected to change.
With many commending the Raiders and Doss for a compelling tale, Raiders head coach Jon Gruden thinks this is just like any other player being cut and re-signed:
“Look he’s not the first guy to get cut and put on practice squad,” Gruden said Wednesday. “So let’s not make this ‘Hard Knocks’ themed, all right? I mean, he’s not the first receiver that we have cut or that any other team has cut and brought back to their 53. So now, what it is is what it is. Here’s an opportunity and with some receivers beat up a little bit, he may get his chance this week.”
“But it is a great story, but the reality is: This is part of the NFL,” Gruden continued. “You have to take advantage of your opportunities when they come and I’ll say this: We’re the team that’s given him his first shot in the NFL and his first shot on the active 53. So hopefully it all works out and it ends up to truly be a happy story for everyone.”
Although the greatness of Doss’s story will be measured when his career is over, there is certainly excitement surrounding the young receiver. After growing up in Alameda and playing college ball at nearby UC Davis, it certainly is fitting that the Raiders give him his first chance at the NFL.