ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) — The Oakland Raiders signed special teams standout Taiwan Jones to a three-year extension on Monday that keeps him under contract through 2017.
Jones still had one year remaining on his rookie deal but was allowed to negotiate an extension for the first time this offseason.
General manager Reggie McKenzie kept a speedster originally picked by late owner Al Davis who emerged as a top special teams player after struggling to make it as a running back.
Jones is a Bay Area native who is active in the community and very popular with Raiders fans.
"I was excited when they came to me about the extension," Jones said. "It is definitely a blessing for a local kid to be part of the Raiders turnaround. I've been an underdog all my life, so I think it's very fitting for me to remain here. I'm definitely excited about it."
Jones was originally selected by Oakland as a running back in the fourth round in 2011 out of Eastern Washington after running a 4.33-second 40-yard dash before the draft. That speed and 2,955 yards rushing and 36 touchdowns in two seasons as a running back in college led Davis to select him.
But Jones struggled with injuries and ball security his first two seasons. He had 22 carries for 94 yards and four catches for 36 yards and averaged 18.7 yards on 10 kickoff returns as he struggled to find a role in the NFL.