ALAMEDA – Raiders running back Rashad Jennings said Monday that he was formally cleared to play next week against the Kansas City Chiefs.
He missed Sunday’s loss to the New York Jets with concussion-like symptoms dating back to a Thanksgiving loss to the Dallas Cowboys. He was inadvertently kicked in the back of the helmet, which drove his helmet into the turf.
Jennings was cleared to practice last week, but didn’t pass the part of the NFL’s concussion-related protocol required to play. Jennings said he passed that final test on Monday and that he’ll be active against the Chiefs.
“We’re good to go,” Jennings said. “Everything’s washed up. Now it’s back to football.”
Jennings was upset that doctors ruled him out of the Jets loss, although he was impressed by Marcel Reece’s performance in his stead. The fullback had a career-high 123 rushing yards and 161 yards total offense in the 37-27 loss at MetLife Stadium.
[RELATED: Reece runs wild with Jennings, McFadden out]
“He’s a great player,” Jennings said. “He stepped up and played tremendous against a top-ranked run defense. That was a tribute, as I’m sure he would say, to the offensive line and their preparation during the week. We’re growing in the run game. We’re growing as an offense and we have to continue to improve.”
The Raiders should be stronger with Jennings and Reece healthy in the same game. Jennings was the team’s feature back before Darren McFadden suffered an ankle injury in his return from a hamstring strain. His carry count will hold steady as the season moves along.
Jennings hopes the team continues to progress over the final three games, and the offense can finish on a high note and build confidence toward 2014.
Jennings is working on a 1-year deal, but hopes to be around to see the fruits of this year’s labor.
“I’d love to return,” Jennings said. “I feel I am a Raider. I feel at home here. I understand the system, I’m going to continue to grow in it, take ownership over it. Again, I show up every day, work hard and let everybody else make those decisions. But, if I had my druthers, I’ll be wearing this bucket again (next season).”
-- LG Khalif Barnes suffered knee and ankle injuries against the Jets, but isn’t expected to miss time.
-- RT Tony Pashos has a foot injury that is considered minor.
-- TE Nick Kasa (concussion) started going through the NFL protocol on Monday. He’s expected to pass through the series of tests this week.
-- It’s uncertain whether DT Vance Walker (concussion) will be available to play Sunday against Kansas City.
-- LB Sio Moore (neck) will be evaluated throughout the week, and might miss some practice.
-- DE Jason Hunter (finger) should be okay for Sunday.