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Edwards has another chance, this time as backup with Raiders

NAPA, Calif. -- The Oakland Raiders signed free-agent quarterback Trent Edwards on Saturday to compete to be the backup to Jason Campbell.

Edwards, a third-round draft pick in 2007 out of Stanford, opened last season as Buffalo's starter but was benched and released after two games. The Jaguars claimed him off waivers in late September.

The 27-year-old Edwards has passed for 6,019 yards and 26 touchdowns in his career while throwing 30 interceptions and getting sacked 69 times.

"He has some characteristics that I look for in a quarterback," Raiders coach Hue Jackson said. "Having an opportunity to sit down and talk to him, he was what I was looking for. I mean, he's a big, strong, physical guy that can throw the ball. Loves football. Very passionate about the game. He's a gym rat. He likes to go in and study from morning to night. It's important to him. He's looking for an opportunity and we're a place that has an opportunity."

The Raiders considered drafting Edwards in the later rounds in 2007, but ended up taking JaMarcus Russell first overall instead. Russell lasted just three seasons in Oakland before being cut last year. Now Edwards gets his chance.

Edwards said he had a few other options but liked what he'd seen from the Raiders and Jackson.

"With everything that's going on with this organization, with the head coach, from the top down, here with this organization, this would give me the best opportunity to come in here and play for a winning football team and sort of rejuvenate my career," Edwards said.

Edwards started 32 games in Buffalo, completing 61 percent of his passes for 5,879 yards, with 25 touchdowns and 29 interceptions. But his tenure was filled with criticism, complaints and a pair of concussions.

Edwards got thrown into the mix after two weeks in Jacksonville, replacing David Garrard during a Monday night game against Tennessee. He completed 14 of 24 passes for 140 yards, with two interceptions. He was sacked twice, scrambled five times for 16 yards and injured his right thumb late in the game.

He did not play again until the final week of the season when he went 12 for 25 for 140 yards, one touchdown and one interception in a 34-17 loss to Houston.

"I've been in Jason's shoes before, I've been a backup before, now I feel like I've kind of been through the roller-coaster ride and I know kind of how to handle myself," Edwards said. "I'm a year older, a little more mature, kind of have been through a little bit and now I'm going to use it to my advantage."

Also Saturday, Oakland re-signed free-agent offensive lineman Khalif Barnes and linebacker Sam Williams, and signed undrafted free-agent defensive lineman Derrick Hill of California.

The Raiders decided to bring back Barnes to compete for the starting right tackle job after first having Jared Gaither in for a look. Oakland ended up not finalizing the deal with Gaither when doctors did not clear his health. Gaither missed all of last season with a back injury.

"When you check a guy out it goes back to the same thing. I want to make sure we're putting healthy players out here," Jackson said. "Nothing to him, he knows everything he has to do. He's just not where he needs to be to compete on a physical level all the time. But he'll go back and keep working. It just didn't work this time. So we'll move to the next opportunity."

Barnes spent the past two seasons in Oakland as a backup. He got most of his time last season as an extra tight end in certain formations for Oakland. He caught two passes, including a touchdown.

But with Mario Henderson and Langston Walker unlikely to come back this season, Barnes will get a good chance at the starting job.

"We're going to give him a chance to compete on that offensive line," Jackson said. "Obviously he's done multiple things for me a year ago, but I want to see him go in and compete and see if he can strengthen our offensive line, and play tackle like he's played in this league, and be a good player."

Williams is now the longest-tenured position player in Oakland, having joined the team as a third-round pick out of Fresno State in 2003.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

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