ALAMEDA – The Raiders exchanged one return man for another. They signed Marcus Thigpen on Tuesday to possibly help a return game that uses key parts in a risky phase of the game.
If Thigpen earns a role, he could relieve valuable defensive back T.J. Carrie of returning punts and help running back Taiwan Jones returning kickoffs.
That’s why they signed Walt Powell a few weeks ago, but he didn’t earn an opportunity. He was inactive for two weeks before getting released on Monday.
Now Thigpen will try to break in with his seventh team since 2009. He has plenty of experience as a return man. He has averaged 24.2 yards over 92 kickoff returns, with one touchdown among them. He also averaged 10 yards per punt return in 85 attempts, two of which were returned for touchdowns. His last return for a touchdown came in 2014, while working for Buffalo.
He was a participant at Raiders practice on Wednesday.
The team would like to spell Carrie in particular. He got hurt returning a Week 4 punt versus Chicago, though he hasn’t missed a start. He has averaged 6.8 yards per punt return this season, but is incredibly valuable to a Raiders secondary that needs him to play either safety or cornerback.