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Jared Veldheer refutes Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie

General manager Reggie McKenzie insisted Tuesday that Jared Veldheer wasn't brought back to Oakland because the left tackle "didn't want to play for the Raiders anymore."

McKenzie also made it clear that Veldheer's exit to Arizona "wasn't about finances."

In a Wednesday interview with KMVP-FM in Phoenix, Veldheer refuted McKenzie's claims.

"I appreciate everything that Oakland did for me over the last four years," Veldheer said. "We just couldn't get (a contract) done. It wasn't that I didn't want to be there, because I know that's been said recently. That just wasn't the case."

A full month before free agency began, Veldheer was seeking more urgency from the Raiders in contract talks.

Leading up to the deadline from franchise tags, NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported there was no communication between the Raiders and Veldheer's camp.

Whereas the Raiders slow-played Veldheer and ultimately low-balled their offer, Veldheer said the Cardinals were "very aggressive" and "made it clear that they wanted me here."

We weren't alone in scratching our heads at McKenzie's approach to Veldheer. Cardinals coach Bruce Arians told reporters Wednesday at the NFL Annual Meeting that he was "shocked" when the Raiders opted against using the franchise tag to retain their best offensive player.

"He's 6-8, 330 pounds and tough as nails," Arians said, via CSN Bay Area. "He's only 26. It's everything you want in a left tackle. It's still hard to believe he was there. We were extremely excited. He brings a tough-guy attitude we want. He's athletic and moves extremely well for a guy that big. We are ecstatic to have him."

Maybe NFL teams get the blindside protectors they deserve.

The latest "Around The League Podcast" breaks down all the latest news at the NFL Annual Meeting.

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