Skip to main content

Raiders' Reece has more to celebrate than his own good fortune

ALAMEDA, Calif. -- Oakland Raiders fullback Marcel Reece tends to brush off individual achievements with a wave of his hand.

When the subject turns to his backfield partner, Darren McFadden, Reece puffs his chest out like a proud parent.

It's difficult to imagine where the Raiders would be without either player.

Although McFadden has run his way into the team's record books with what is already the sixth-best season by a Raiders running back, Reece also has been important to Oakland's resurgence.

In addition to being McFadden's lead blocker, Reece is the Raiders' fourth-leading receiver and is tied for the second-most touchdown catches on the team.

Not bad for a player who entered the NFL as an undrafted free-agent wide receiver in 2008 and won his spot on Oakland's 53-man roster this year after beating out two other prospects in training camp.

"It's been fun for me, to say the least," Reece said. "I came here as a receiver, woke up, and I was a fullback. Three years later, it's just about embracing it. It's an understatement to say I'm more comfortable. I just feel like I'm coming into my own."

Much of the attention surrounding Oakland's success this season has centered on McFadden. He's the second player in franchise history to gain at least 1,100 yards rushing and 475 yards in receptions in the same season. Marcus Allen did it twice, in 1984 and '85.

Although McFadden missed two games because of a hamstring injury, he is on pace to finish with the second-most prolific season by a Raiders running back.

Reece, who has helped McFadden gain many of those yards, beams when he thinks about it.

"It's just been Darren's year," Reece said with a grin. "It means more to me that I'm on the field with him. I'm proud of Darren. He's been working hard, and it shows."

Reece could say the same thing about himself.

Cut by Miami after signing with the team in the 2008 offseason, Reece joined Oakland later that year then made the transformation from college receiver to NFL fullback. Although it took him two years to get fully comfortable with the position change, the former University of Washington standout has flourished this season.

Reece's 23 receptions are second in the NFL among fullbacks, a product of offensive coordinator Hue Jackson's wide-open schemes that have helped the Raiders go from 31st in total offense in 2009 to No. 8 this season.

In last week's 39-23 win over Denver, Reece took a short pass from quarterback Jason Campbell and turned it into a 73-yard touchdown to turn a close game into a rout. It was the Raiders' longest play from scrimmage this season. Reece also had a 51-yard reception in Oakland's 33-3 rout of Seattle on Oct. 31.

"I think there is a skill set there that every week we try to grow it and do something with it, and he's responded everything we've asked him to do," Raiders coach Tom Cable said. "The thing that I see him getting better at is truly playing the fullback position in the backfield. He's starting to strike people and finishing more blocks. He's doing a fine job."

Coupled with his blocking for McFadden, Reece's receptions have made him the subject of Pro Bowl conversations. That's saying something, considering the Raiders haven't had a member of their backfield, running back or fullback, make it to the Pro Bowl since Allen in 1987.

Even if Reece doesn't get voted in, he plans to be in Hawaii with McFadden.

"I try not to think about it too much," Reece said. "It's going to play out the way it plays out. I'm only worried about (McFadden) going, because he deserves it so much, and I'm just proud of him. If it happens (for me), it happens. If he goes, I'm going with him."

Notes: Punter Shane Lechler (hamstring) did not practice but the Raiders are optimistic he can play Sunday against Indianapolis. ... The word on DE Richard Seymour (hamstring) isn't as encouraging. "That's still kind of touch and go," Cable said. ... RT Langston Walker also was held out of practice. Mario Henderson, who began the season as Oakland's starting left tackle before losing the job to rookie Jared Veldheer, took the reps in Walker's absence.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.