One might look at the fact that receiver Rod Streater signed with the Chiefs this offseason as a sign that he’s eager to show his former team, the Oakland Raiders, what they’re missing.
After all, Streater posted solid seasons in 2012 and 2013 with the Raiders before he was reduced to a bit player in 2015, and as a Chief, he’ll be able to face them twice a year.
But during a conference call with the Kansas City media on Tuesday, Streater — who signed a one-year deal worth up to $4.8 million with the Chiefs — insisted he’s not out for vengeance.
“The Chiefs gave me the best opportunity and gave me a shot to go out there and prove myself,” Streater said. “I’m just ready to prove myself to the Chiefs and give my all for the fans, the organization, Chiefs Kingdom and for the Chiefs overall. I’m just focused on being the best player I can be for the Kansas City Chiefs.”
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Streater, 28, has shown that when he’s healthy, he’s pretty good. He’s 6 feet 3 and 216 pounds, and he ran a blistering 4.37 40-yard dash at Temple’s pro day in 2012. He signed as an undrafted free agent with the Raiders, and after a solid rookie season, he started to put it together the next year, when he caught 60 passes for 888 yards and four touchdowns.
But in 2014, he dealt with a fractured foot that limited him to three games. The following offseason, the Raiders added two immediate starters in first-round pick Amari Cooper and free-agent signee Michael Crabtree. Two other youngsters, Seth Roberts and Andre Holmes, also emerged, and Streater ended up catching only one pass for 8 yards in one game as a healthy scratch for most of the season.
“They kind of had who they wanted to play, had a bunch of great receivers last year,” Streater said. “They produced … (I) gave it my all in practice and was ready to go, but you’ve got to respect the coaches and what their decision was.”
In the same vein, by signing with the Chiefs, Streater made the decision to stay in the AFC West and hook up with a team — and a coach in Andy Reid — that he feels can use his skill set.
“I feel like my biggest strength is that I’m 6-3 and I can play the slot,” Streater said. “I feel I can go against the nickel, whoever it is in the slot, and I’ll ultimately win. Regardless of if it’s inside or outside, I feel like I can contribute to the team.”
During his best years with the Raiders, Streater showed a willingness to work over the middle and an aptitude for making contested catches, traits he takes immense pride in.
“I mean, that’s what a receiver is supposed to do, is put the team first and go and get that ball,” Streater said. “ However I’ve got to get it, you know, I’ll work hard, I’ll work out, I can take a hit. I’ve taken many hits over my career and I got back up, so I feel like I’m a tough guy. Send me across the middle and I’ll do the dirty work.
“I’ve never been afraid to go across the middle.”
He’s not afraid to compete, either. Streater should come right in and battle with last year’s No. 2 receiver, Albert Wilson, and 2015 third-round pick Chris Conley for a starting job.
“I’m going to have to earn it any way and make plays,” Streater said. “So that’s my focus right now.”