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Raiders tight end Clive Walford emerges from season-long waiting game

Raiders tight end Clive Walford emerges from season-long waiting game
Published On: Wed, Dec 06
Sep 24, 2017; Landover, MD, USA; Oakland Raiders tight end Clive Walford (88) catches a pass during warm ups prior to the Raiders' game against the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio sat down for his weekly news conference Monday and placed a small sheet of white paper on the table in front of him. Among the things written on that paper, Del Rio later said, was the name of backup tight end Clive Walford.

Hes the first guy I wrote down on here to talk about, Del Rio said.

Walford, an afterthought on the Raiders offense most of this season, had his most productive game in Sundays 24-17 win over the Giants. The third-year tight end caught four passes for 57 yards. Entering the game, hed had three catches for 10 yards all season.

Hes been patient all year, Del Rio said. Obviously, its tough. We brought in Jared (Cook) and Jared has a big role. A lot of those things are things that Clive can do well. (Sunday) we called on him in a bigger role and he responded and had a nice game.

A third-round pick from Miami in 2015, Walford was the primary pass-catching tight end the past two seasons in an Oakland offense that didnt target the position often. Walford had 28 catches for 329 yards and three touchdowns as a rookie. He returned from an offseason ATV accident to record 33 catches for 359 yards and three touchdowns last season.

The Raiders ranked 28th in the NFL last season in receptions by tight ends and 30th in receiving yards. In March, they agreed to a two-year, $12.2 million deal with Cook, who quickly has become one of Derek Carrs favorite targets.

Cook leads the Raiders in receptions (43) and receiving yards (546), and with Lee Smith as the primary blocking tight end, Walfords playing time dwindled. After playing nearly 63 percent of the Raiders offensive snaps in 2016, Walford has played 16.6 percent this season.

Read the complete news article here...


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