HENDERSON, Nevada. How he often diagnoses the game on the field as an average midfielder. Denzel Perryman knew exactly what he was going to be asked when he stood at the pulpit.

- Advertisement -

However, that didn’t mean the professional bowler was comfortable being asked about the NFL Network’s report that he was seeking a contract extension with the Las Vegas Raiders at the start of training camp.

- Advertisement -

“I knew it,” Perryman muttered under his breath, shaking his head slowly. “I knew this would happen. I knew this would happen.”

- Advertisement -

The room full of reporters laughed along with the cheerful Perryman.

“To answer that question,” he continued, “this is what my agent, Ron Butler, does. I just want to play football. [that question]. That’s why I sweat. I’ve been waiting for this.”

Then Perryman grabbed a towel with his right hand and slowly wiped his face, which shone as much as it smiled.

RADERS, UNDER new management led by general manager Dave Ziegler and coach Josh McDaniels, who came from the New England Patriots in January, extended defense contracts Max Crosbydefender Derek Carr and slot receiver Hunter Renfroe. Las Vegas also acquired All-Pro wide receiver Davante Adams and signed him to a new tight end contract. Darren Waller he looks ready for a new deal with Las Vegas, which has over $26.4 million in salary caps.

So, yes, after the best season of his seven-year career and entering the final year of his contract, who can blame Perryman for wanting a bit of security?

Consider: Perryman’s 154 tackles last season were the most by a Raiders player since 2000, the sixth most tackled in the NFL in 2021, and he was the first Raiders linebacker named in an All-Star game since Matt Millen… 1988

The legacy of the playmaker of the second line of defense was a stroke of luck for the new coaching staff.

“Denzel, he brings a lot of juice every day and you can tell when he gets there, he has such a booming voice and everyone knows when he talks it’s usually something important,” McDaniels said. “He is very confident in himself. He acts carefree but is serious about playing football. And I don’t know many people who work like him.”

“He tries to work hard to get better at things that he may not have done as much as I like about him… pushes his teammates, demands responsibility from them. Manages the same thing every day. Our building. Doesn’t rise or fall [like] roller coaster. If there are any issues, rest assured Denzel will let me know as soon as possible. And if you go to Denzel with anything we need from the team, he’ll do it. He has the respect of the entire locker room. I really, really enjoy being with him every day.”

Perryman arrived in Las Vegas in a curious way. After spending his first six seasons with the Chargers, in the spring of 2021, he signed a two-year, $6 million free agent contract with the Carolina Panthers.

But after a weird off-season and a promise not to get vaccinated against COVID-19, he was traded to the Raiders along with a 2022 seventh-round pick at the end of training camp in exchange for a 2022 sixth-round pick.

Perryman resisted the injection until, he said at the time, he could no longer feel like an outcast in the locker room.

“I feel like I’m still trying to get my feet wet here,” Perryman said of Las Vegas in general. “I was exchanged here. It was unexpected, but for me it was a blessing in disguise. not yet fully closed. I’m still trying, as I said, to get my feet wet.

Injuries have been a problem for Perryman – until last year he had never started more than 11 games in a season. During his career, he played in 84 of the 113 possible regular season games.

But after 15 games as a starter, as well as a playoff loss to the Cincinnati Bengals last season — he missed two while on the COVID list — Perryman appears to be a building block for new defensive coordinator Patrick Graham. Perryman and sophomore Divine Deablo are the Raiders’ only returning linebackers.

“You can’t lead if you don’t contribute and are consistent in your contributions,” Graham said. “And he comes every day the same – great energy, willingness to learn, responsibility. If he makes a mistake, he is ready to take the blame for it, and he places the responsibility on others. And because he’s in that midfield position, he’s good at communicating between players and managers. And that’s important from this position.”

WILL 110 degrees or the monsoon floods the field, Perryman is constantly at the camp, swinging his beanies with messages of social change and reminding anyone within earshot to “get wet”.

“He is the heart of our defense,” said the extreme rusher. Chandler Jones. “I got in touch with him when I first got here and we just kind of melted into one… I’m a fan of his, of course.”

Safety Duron Harmon agreed.

“He’s the soul of the party,” Harmon said. “But then when he gets on the field, it’s like flipping a switch.”

Indeed, Perryman had 10 games with at least 10 tackles last season, including 14 in overtime in Week 3 against the Miami Dolphins.

A gripping machine, albeit with injuries, ending a career season that seems like a fundamental part even as he turns 30 in December and enters the final year of his contract?

Yes, there is a certain “energy” around Perryman at the center of the Raiders’ retooled defenses.

“I mean, I’m just excited about the season as a whole,” Perryman said. “It’s all new – new coaches, new staff, new faces, new scheme and new year. So in terms of energy, I mean I’m always smiling and full of energy.”

As if he foresaw it all.