ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) — Tackle Alex Barron signed a free-agent contract with the Oakland Raiders on Tuesday as he hopes to revive his career after sitting out the past two seasons.
Barron, a former first round pick by St. Louis in 2005, has started just one game since 2009. After playing sparingly in Dallas in 2010, Barron missed the entire 2011 season with New Orleans with a knee injury and was cut in training camp last summer by Seattle.
Barron said he is once again healthy and that time away from football only reinforced how much he wanted to continue to play the game.
"The love for the game is unmatched," he said. "It's almost equal to none. When you're away from it, it takes out of you; it takes away from you."
Oakland was one of the few teams to show interest in Barron this offseason as the Raiders look to bolster their offensive line as they shift from a zone blocking scheme to a power-based offense under line coach Tony Sparano.
Barron has experience playing both left and right tackle, although Jared Veldheer is entrenched on the left side in Oakland. The Raiders recently re-signed right tackle Khalif Barnes. Barnes also has some experience playing guard.
Barron is the first offensive addition made by the Raiders this offseason as general manager Reggie McKenzie has spent the opening weeks of free agency focusing on building up the defense.
"I felt like they had the most interest and the most belief and I went along with it," Barron said. "I feel as though I can come in and help the team however it may be."
Barron started 74 games in his first five seasons with the Rams after being drafted 19th overall out of Florida State. He struggled in St. Louis with 43 false starts, 13 holding penalties and 33 sacks allowed in his five seasons, according to STATS LLC.
He was traded to Dallas before the 2010 season but started just one game for the Cowboys.