NAPA, Calif. (AP) When Rod Streater went down with a season-ending broken foot last September, he left behind a wide receiver group on the Oakland Raiders that was extremely thin.
The position group Streater joined Sunday when he practiced for the first time this training camp is appreciably deeper following the offseason additions of Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree. That has turned Streater from the No. 1 option to a player looking to solidify the role of third receiver on the Raiders offense this season.
”It’s exciting,” Streater said. ”It pushes me harder to come back. It’s exciting to see them work hard on offense and be successful. It’s a good group of receivers.”
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It just got better with the addition of Streater, who was taken off the non-football illness list Sunday. Streater said he had been feeling sick since the end of the offseason program in June, but said doctors still don’t know what is wrong.
Streater said he lost a bit of weight while recovering but feels back to normal again and was able to pass his conditioning test to get back on the practice field.
”He looks good,” coach Jack Del Rio said. ”He looks fresh. … Good to see him back out there.”
Streater had been one of Oakland’s most reliable receivers since signing as an undrafted free agent out of Temple in 2012. He caught 39 passes for 584 yards as a rookie and then led the team in receiving with 60 catches for 888 yards and four scores in 2013. He missed the final 13 games last season with a broken foot. Streater was Oakland’s leading receiver in 2013 with 60 catches for 888 yards and four touchdowns.
But he broke his foot in the third game of the season last year and did not return. Now he has to earn his way back into the rotation with a new coaching staff.
Cooper, the fourth overall pick in the draft, and free-agent acquisition Crabtree give Oakland its best pair of starting wideouts in at least a decade. The Raiders have not had a 1,000-yard receiver since Randy Moss did it in 2005 with Jerry Porter by his side.
Kenbrell Thompkins had been working as the third receiver for most of camp, and Andre Holmes and Brice Butler each caught touchdown passes in the exhibition opener. Former practice squader Seth Roberts has also impressed this summer, giving the Raiders needed depth at the position.
Streater worked his way back into the mix on Sunday and said he didn’t feel like all the time off hampered him.
”It’s not hard,” he said. ”I was in there working hard with the quarterbacks, trying to learn the plays and not missing a step. I was out here trying to get mental reps. It wasn’t like I missed a step. It’s just the conditioning part of the game I have to get used to again.”
NOTES: TE Clive Walford, who missed time earlier in camp with a hamstring injury, sat out again Sunday with an undisclosed injury. … TE Lee Smith and S Brandian Ross returned to practice after missing the exhibition opener with injuries. … Holmes left practice early after being tackled on a catch by Dexter McDonald. … RB Roy Helu Jr., LB Sio Moore and FB Jamize Olawale remain sidelined with injuries.
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