There is plenty at stake this Sunday when the Raiders roll into Jacksonville. Sure, there are playoff hopes on the line and potentially jobs in the balance as well. But for a few there is an added incentive – revenge.
The Raiders feature three former Jaguars on their roster while Jacksonville’s defense features Oakland’s own native son. There is plenty to play for as it is, but these four players will have a lot more to fuel their passion on Sunday.
Before joining the Silver and Black as a free agent last off-season, Khalif Barnes spent all four years of his NFL career in Jacksonville. While Barnes hasn’t started many games during his two years in Oakland, he did provide a memorable moment by snagging a TD against the Chiefs. Not sure how many more goal line packages Hue Jackson has the big guy in but you can bet he’d love to put 6 on the board in his former stomping ground.
Now, if you’re looking for a little revenge as a motive then there is Quentin Groves. A second round pick out of Auburn, the Jags had high hopes for Groves as a pass rushing defensive end. After two years and only two sacks, Jacksonville shipped Quentin to the East Bay where he‘s become a fixture at the weak side linebacker position. While he hasn’t exactly impressed, Groves did grab the first interception of his career as a Raider.
Lastly is a man who was a career Jag until this year. Big John Henderson was a fixture on the Jacksonville defensive line for 8 years. After finishing up a stellar college career at Tennessee, Henderson was picked 9th overall in the ’02 draft. During his time in Northern Florida Big John racked up 29 sacks and was selected to two Pro Bowls in addition to being a second team All-Pro in 2006. Henderson’s presence in the Raiders’ D-line rotation has been a major reason why this team has taken some big strides this season.
While all of the above have ample motivation, they all fall short in comparison to the revenge Kirk Morrison would like to exact.
A lifelong Raider fan, Morrison grew up in the Easy Bay, attended Bishop O’Dowd High in Oakland and saw his dreams come true when his hometown team picked him in the 3rd round of the ’05 draft. For five years Captain Kirk anchored the Oakland defense racking up a lot of tackles thanks to being in the middle of one of the NFL’s worst run defenses. Once his contract was up, the writing appeared to be on the wall as the Raiders only tendered an original round tag on Morrison. Then came draft day when Oakland officially announced they were moving on by drafting Rolando McClain with their top pick.
Morrison was traded the next day and there were a few rumors circulating that he was unwilling to move to outside linebacker thus making a trade the only option for the team. Despite the heartbreaking deal, Kirk remains positive in his new surroundings as he told Vittorio Tafur earlier this week.
Because you grew up there, you want to play as a Raider for your whole entire life but sometimes change is good. And, definitely, for me, it has helped me out tremendously.
Come Sunday, all bets will be off as friends shake hands before the game then go at each other’s throats once the whistle blows. Big John already said he doesn’t need to get his usual pregame tradition going for this one. Henderson also didn’t give the company line when asked about his former team this week. He’s hoping they come right at him in fact.
“It’s going to feel good to go and whip somebody’s you know what. They better bring it. That’s all I got to say. Put that on the bulletin board, too.”