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Raiders’ Hunter Renfrow welcomes addition of DeSean Jackson

The Raiders’ wide receivers have been a tight group over the last few years. Young, but very invested in each other.

Hence the multi-leveled pain felt over the recent Henry Ruggs incident.

“Incredibly tough what happened. It’s just a tragedy,” said Hunter Renfrow. “It was very sad. It was a tough week.”

That same closeness also enabled the receivers to offer open arms this week to DeSean Jackson, the veteran wide receiver the Raiders signed to fill the void left behind by Ruggs’ release.

As a vested 34-year-old veteran and one of the most recognized players of his era, Jackson carries enormous clout. That isn’t lost on his new teammates. So it’s not like he has to go out of his way to earn their respect.

Nevertheless, parachuting into a new team at midseason always comes with a bit of awkwardness, especially given the circumstances surrounding Ruggs.

But the Raiders wasted little time letting Jackson know they appreciate his arrival.

“One thing I can say is that everyone’s making me feel real comfortable,” Jackson said. “Making me feel welcome.”

That includes the other wide receivers. By age, Jackson is the elder statesman. But in Raiders’ experience, he’s the new guy on the block, with Renfrow the longest-tenured receiver.

Renfrow wasted no time welcoming Jackson into the fold. That’s not just because he’s wired that way, but also because he realizes how much the Raiders need what Jackson brings.

“We’re going to need him to get where we need to,” Renfrow pointed out. “We’re going to have to have that speed and that playmaking ability that only he can bring.”

That’s not lost on anybody. All of the Raiders receivers have been longtime fans of Jackson.

Renfrow was 13 years old when Jackson first hit the scene in pro football. Bryan Edwards was 10. So yeah, they’ve spent more than a few Sundays watching Jackson take the top of NFL defenses,

“He’s somebody that we grew up watching … been a big fan of his game,” Renfrow said.

The type of clout Jackson carries can sometimes cut in the opposite direction, leading to a clash of egos and bruised feelings. But Renfrow said there has been none of that going on.

“He’s come in here very humble, very open to learning,” Renfrow said. “Exactly what you’d want. He’s played so many games and played so much football, especially in the NFL, he can easily come in here and say ‘I know it all. I know how to run this route, I’ve done it a million times.’

“But he’s been very adept at learning. Just a sponge, It’s been awesome being around here the last couple days.”

There is a lesson to be learned in how Jackson is handling the transition to a new team.

“Shows humility. Shows leadership. Shows being a great teammate,” Renfrow said. “I think he has all of those characteristics, He’s done nothing but show us that.”

Renfrow is also eager to learn from Jackson.

“Just his approach to the game, his mentality,” Renfrow said. “He’s been doing it days where he’s felt great and days where he probably hasn’t felt great, so just his mentality, I’m interested to see him and see how he works on a day-to-day basis and see how he approaches the game.”

Contact Vincent Bonsignore at vbonsignore@reviewjournal.com. Follow @VinnyBonsignore on Twitter.

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