Raiders release DT Tommy Kelly

The Oakland Raiders released defensive tackle Tommy Kelly on

Wednesday, cutting ties with their longest-tenured position player

on the roster.

The move is the latest to distance the organization from the era

of late owner Al Davis. Kelly originally signed with Oakland as an

undrafted free agent in 2004 and quickly became a mainstay on the

defense, signing a $50.1 million, seven-year contract to remain

with Oakland in 2008.

But general manager Reggie McKenzie cut Kelly two years before

the end of that contract, getting Kelly’s $6.5 million salary for

2013 off the books.

Kelly, 32, is the third prominent player acquired by Davis who

has been released this month, following defensive back Michael Huff

and receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey.

Punter Shane Lechler, safety Mike Mitchell, tight end Brandon

Myers, defensive end Matt Shaughnessy and defensive tackle Desmond

Bryant have also all left as free agents. Only 18 players who were

part of the organization when Davis died Oct. 8, 2011, are still on

the roster.

Running back Darren McFadden and safety Tyvon Branch are now the

longest-tenured position players on the roster, having been drafted

in 2008. Long snapper Jon Condo joined the team the previous season

and kicker Sebastian Janikowski was a first-round pick in 2000.

Kelly started all 80 games for Oakland over the past five

seasons. His best years came in 2010 and `11 when he teamed with

Richard Seymour to form a formidable force in the middle of the

defensive line. Kelly had 14 1/2 sacks over those two seasons and

was one of the better pass-rushing tackles in the league.

But he struggled to get to the quarterback last season,

recording just one sack in 16 games. He also had only 18

quarterback pressures, according to Pro Football Focus, down from

an average of more than 30 the previous two years.

The Raiders are completely reworking their defensive line,

having lost Shaughnessy and Bryant to free agency and with no

interest in bringing back Seymour as a free agent. Defensive end

Lamarr Houston is the only returning starter.

McKenzie has signed Jason Hunter, Pat Sims and Vance Walker this

month and could use the No. 3 overall pick in April’s draft to add

another lineman.