During the NFL Lock-out, then unrestricted free agent safety of the Oakland Raiders, who since resigned for a lucrative 4-year $32 million deal with the team that drafted him, joined The Fast Life to discuss the Silver and Black.
“Of course I want to stay. This is the team that drafted me. This is the one that kind of believed in me. I’ve been through the tough times with the Raiders. So I want to be there through the good times,” stated Huff who clearly understands that “back in their glory days [the Raiders] were always known for their fierce DBs. Every opposing offense was scared to play against the Raiders secondary. For the Raiders to come back that’s what we are trying to bring back.”
Unfortunately, Raiders owner Al Davis was not able to bring back Pro-Bowl cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, whom Huff worked closely with in the secondary. “We been together five years, he’s the one that kind of brought me into the league, he kind of mentored me,” said Huff who explains, “Me and Nnamdi used to get together every week and watch film. During the week, I look at it from a corner when I was watching with him. And he looked at it as watching through a safety. That way we kind of will be both on the same page knowing what the corner is doing, knowing what the safety is doing.”
While Huff will be absent his on-field mentor this season, he still has off-field Raiders legends such as Eddie Wilson and Willie Brown within the organization educating him at the position. “Eddie’s been there the whole time for me. Willie Brown, he’s been there everyday, day in day out. That kind of reminds me who the great 24 is; everywhere you go in the Raider facility. He’s there everyday in meetings with us. So to have him, have a hall-of-famer, in the room coaching you, showing you the ropes, it is special. I’m loving every moment,” thankfully express the current version of the Silver and Black’s number 24.
Amongst his educators, Huff also counts Gold Medal Olympian and Word Record Holder, Michael Johnson. “When you can learn from the fastest man in the world, it’s always good,” revealed Huff who had trained at the Michael Johnson Performance Center in Dallas, TX during the extended off-season. “I just take everything he gives me, all his advice all his pointers, I try to take it and kind of relate it to football, because football, it’s all about speed, you always need that,” further informs Huff.
Another instructor who will be at Huff’s disposal is former Raider and more notably Pittsburgh Steelers Hall-of-Fame cornerback Rod Woodson. “I am definitely looking forward to learning from the best in Rod Woodson,” said Huff.
The Raiders are also now under the leadership of new head coach Hue Jackson. “It was tough. Tom [Cable] did a great job,” said Huff, “but we got Hue there now… I’m glad to see Hue in there. Hue is going to be a great head coach.”
After having swept the their division last year, the Raiders can expect even stiffer competition this season, especially from the Broncos, who the Raiders defeated 59-14 on Oct. 24th last year. “Any time you play Denver, especially up there in Denver, they just hate you so much. That’s why I love playing on that road at Denver. You never know what you will hear. You never know what is going to get thrown at you. You never know what’s going happen. Anytime you play Denver it is a heated rivalry,” an eager Huff anticipates.
The Oakland safety credits a great deal of the team’s good fortune as well as the success at his position to the defensive line, “The front four makes my job a lot easier. You got big Seymour in there and you got Lamar [Houston] my Texas boy in there. They take care of the o-line and get pressure on the quarterback and we can go out there and play pass and do our job, makes it a lot easier on the back end.”
An Irving, TX product himself and member of the 2005 National Champion Texas Longhorns, Huff recalls, “Going back to my Texas days, I played corner, I played free safety, I played strong safety, I played nickel, so I am kind of familiar with playing a different roll in the defense … I try to learn every position of the defense, you never what will happen, what’s going on during the season, what’s going to happen during a game. I try to be familiar with every position on the field, who’s supposed to be where and who’s supposed to be doing what.”
For the newly extended Raiders safety, glad to be back in the Silver and Black, the focus is simple, “My main thing at the end of the day is winning a Super Bowl ring. That’s what I want to do.”