Jermaine Eluemunor to make first start for Raiders in Week 2

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The NFL can be a crazy business. A little over two weeks ago, Jermaine Eluemunor was a member of the Jacksonville Jaguars. Sunday he will make his first start for the Las Vegas Raiders. His fourth team in nine months.

Eluemunor’s football life has taken him literally across the globe. Born in England, Eluemunor started his life in sports as a football player. But, the kind that actually uses their feet more than their hands. What we call soccer.

Eventually, he became too big for that kind of football and started playing rugby. He and his family moved to New Jersey when he was a teen and that’s when he got into American football.

By his count, he applied to some 120 schools and had them all tell him — in his words — that he “sucked.” That was before Texas A&M came calling and he left the Northeast for the South.

Four years for the Aggies and he was selected in the 5th round by the Baltimore Ravens. Two years and just three starts and he was traded to the Patriots. Two injury-plagued years with the Patriots and he was headed to the Southeast to join the Dolphins. A stint that lasted a little over two months. He then joined the Jaguars to finish out their training camp, then cut again. Two days later he was headed out West to join the Raiders.

Two weeks after that, he would enter the Raiders season-opening game vs the Ravens in the first quarter for the injured Denzelle Good, seeing his career come full circle as he faced the team that drafted him.

“When you play a former team you always want to show them what they’re missing. You don’t want to play bad against them and they’re like ‘oh yeah, we’re glad we got rid of him’,” Eluemunor said of facing the Ravens.

“I wanted to put on film that I’m getting better every single year and this is one of those games I was waiting for. I didn’t expect to play, but when I got in there I knew I had to make the most of this opportunity. If you followed me you’ll see I got cut in Miami, got cut in Jacksonville. Jacksonville was expected but Miami was a shock, but I told myself the next opportunity I get I’m just going to put it all on the line. So, coming to Las Vegas, I said whenever the opportunity comes, I’m going to be ready for it. It was an amazing feeling for sure.”

The journeyman guard has plenty to be proud of in his Raiders debut. Especially considered that he had only been in the building for two weeks.

“I would say Eluemunor was a factor,” Offensive coordinator Greg Olson said Thursday. “When you have someone come in like that and you don’t notice him, that’s a good thing.”

“We were real happy with his performance first time out without getting many reps or not knowing the system, not being here in the offseason program. So, we were fortunate to have him, and you can see him getting better every day.”

This week Good was placed on injured reserve, which means Eluemunor will make his first start as a Raider. It also means we will get to see how he holds up against a team that has a week to prepare for him. And, of course, All-Pro DT Cameron Heyward.

This will be just the 12th career start for Eluemunor. Most of those starts (8) came at right tackle last season for the Patriots, including the season finale. That versatility was part of what made him a player the Raiders were interested in picking up as they were in need of a utility guard/tackle. They just didn’t expect to be starting him in the second week of the season. But here we are.

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