Injuries strained Raiders' ability to evaluate IR-bound Justin Ellis

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Scott Bair
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The Raiders went with four defensive tackles on their initial 53-man roster.

Run stopper Justin Ellis wasn't one of them. The veteran was placed on season-ending injured reserve with a knee injury.

Last week, head coach Jon Gruden said Ellis might be ready for the regular season opener. It's uncertain if there was an injury setback, but he's no longer eligible to play for the Raiders on Sept. 9 against Denver.

It's possible the Raiders reach an injury settlement with him if the ailment isn't season ending and Ellis wants to get back in the game in 2019, though that's ultimately uncertain. Either way, it seems like Ellis' time as a Raider is done.

Ellis missed most of last year on injured reserve after getting hurt in the 2018 regular-season opener, and wasn't able to contribute much following his designation to return.

General manager Mike Mayock explained why Ellis was placed on IR during a Saturday conference call.

[RELATED: Raiders 53-man roster: Examining who made 2019 NFL regular season team]

"I think with Coach, the big thing is availability. Since he's been here, Justin's been hurt – to no fault of his own – I mean it's a legitimate football injury," Mayock said. "So, ‘Jelly' has been hurt. It's been really hard to evaluate him because of that. I think, again, as we go ahead philosophically with younger, more athletic, consistent, available players, we felt like that was a roster spot we could use in a different direction."

"We have a lot of respect for him though, he's been a really good football player in this league."

The Raiders currently have four defensive tackles on the roster. Johnathan Hankins and Maurice Hurst should start inside, with P.J. Hall and recent signing Corey Liuget in reserve. Ends Clelin Ferrell and Josh Mauro can also move inside and help rush from the interior.

Injuries strained Raiders' ability to evaluate IR-bound Justin Ellis originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area