The Raiders showed up for practice today with a new #21 in the fold, former Eagle Pro Bowl corner Lito Sheppard.
The Raiders worked out Sheppard a few weeks ago as the team was a bit thin in the secondary. They had signed cornerback Ron Parker but he became the sacrifice when the team was forced to sign kicker Dave Rayner to replace the injured Sebastian Janikowski. By the time they cut Rayner, Parker had been re-signed by the Seahawks.
This left the team with a roster spot to fill and a need at corner.
The team also worked out veteran corner Brian Williams last week but in the end they opted for Sheppard.
Lito was brought into Raider training camp late and was hoping to hang on among a group of very young corners. With the cutting of second year corners Walter McFadden and Jeremy Ware, Lito seemed to have a shot but the team opted to retain Joe Porter instead.
Now Porter has also been cut and with the lingering injury to former starter Chris Johnson, the team is left without a lot of depth. Rookie Chimdi Chekwa has also been hampered by injuries this season leaving the team with just rookie Demarcus Van Dyke to line up opposite Stanford Routt and no third corner available.
The Philadelphia Eagles chose Sheppard in the first round out of Florida in 2002. He spent the first seven seasons in the NFL with the Eagles. During that time he was a Pro Bowler twice and named All Pro in 2004. He has spent the past two seasons with the Jets and Vikings. He has 19 career interceptions although he has had just two in the past three seasons, starting 14 games over that time. At 30 years of age, he is still looking to hang on in the NFL and the Raiders are his best shot.
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