All the way back
Sterling Moore signs with Oakland Raiders Posted on 07/26/2011 by PonyFans.com
Former SMU cornerback Sterling Moore has made no secret of the fact his goal was to get a chance to play in the National Football League. Three knee injuries — the last of which resulted in December knee surgery
— put that future in question. But Moore worked diligently in his rehabilitation, and despite going unchosen in the NFL’s April draft, his dream became a reality Tuesday when he agreed to a contract with the Oakland Raiders.
|Cornerback Sterling Moore bounced back from three knee injuries to earn a contract with his hometown Oakland Raiders (photo by Webmaster).
“I’m ecstatic,” Moore said. “I had talked to them yesterday, so I knew it was coming.
I had interest from a few other teams, but I pretty much knew that if I got the offer, the Raiders were who I was going to go with — it was just a vibe that I got when I was out there for them. I have been talking to them, even throughout the draft when they didn’t pick me, they kept saying they were interested in me. I just thought it was the best fit, the team that wanted me the most, the team that made the best push for me.”
Moore took part in many of the optional conditioning workouts his former SMU teammates are doing this summer, and occasionally expressed frustration that the NFL’s labor dispute had put on hold his chance to try to earn a roster spot. But after his recovery from his surgery, Moore said the delay in the start of the league’s summer camps actually might have helped his chances.
“I could,” he said, when asked if he could play a game now on his repaired knee. “I definitely feel like it’s 100 percent. Now it’s just the mental parts that I’ve got to get over, but over the last three or four weeks, I can see a difference in the way the knee felt in terms of strength and power in my leg. In a way, I think (the NFL lockout) was a blessing.”
The Raiders’ cornerback situation is in a state of transition this offseason. The team chose not to re-sign veteran Nnamdi Asomugha, who is widely considered to be the biggest prize in this year’s free agent pool. Oakland did re-sign cornerback Stanford Routt, the team’s second-round pick who established career highs in 2010 in tackles (55), passes defensed (13), fumbles forced (one) and touchdowns (one). Moore said that aside from the position that Routt is considered to have locked up, there should be ample opportunity for him to compete for a spot.
“It’s not exactly wide-open, but there are a lot of young guys, and I was told I’m going to go in with a chance to compete, a chance to get on the field,” Moore said. “One spot is pretty much sewed up, with the money they gave Stanford Routt, but aside from him, a lot of the other corners are first- and second-year guys.”
With the Raiders, Moore will have the opportunity to play under one of the greatest defensive backs in NFL history: new Oakland cornerbacks coach Rod Woodson, whom Moore met when he had his private workout with the team before the draft.
“He’s one of those guys who is a perfectionist,” Moore said. “He’s going to teach you all of the knowledge that he accumulated over his career, and he’ll teach you what the best techniques are in each situation.
“He’s not going to stand for mediocrity — he’s going to push you. If you’re not doing it, you’re not going to be there. That’s the kind of coaching I thrive under, because I’m a perfectionist, too. I’m ready to learn everything he can teach.”
For Moore, signing an NFL contract represents reaching a longtime goal of his, and he said his family is equally ecstatic.
“They’re definitely glad I got a chance,” Moore said. “The fact that I’m getting the chance at home — that just makes it even better.”