Former Seattle Seahawk Bruce Irvin will get his wish to rush the passer more with the Oakland Raiders.

Share story

BOCA RATON, Fla. — Former Seahawk Bruce Irvin will get his wish to be more of a pass rusher with the Oakland Raiders, coach Jack Del Rio said at the NFL league meetings Tuesday.

After signing a four-year contract worth up to $37 million as a free agent with Oakland, Irvin said one appeal of playing for the Raiders is that they’ll let him play more as an edge rusher.

“I honestly felt like if I stayed in that system (Seattle), I don’t think I ever would be the player that I think I can be in this league, and that’s being a pass rusher,” Irvin said, according to the Raiders’ team site, adding that “Seattle kind of limited me in that defense – and I did the best that I could do – but I haven’t scratched my surface. I’m far from it. I still have a lot more great years, and a lot more things that I have to prove.”

Irvin played in a hybrid outside linebacker/rush end role with the Seahawks the last three seasons after playing almost solely rush end as a rookie in 2012 when he was Seattle’s first-round pick at No. 15 overall. He’ll revert to more of his 2012 role with the Raiders, Del Rio said.

“There will be times he’s dropping but we would like to bring him forward a little more often,’’ Del Rio said of Irvin. “He’s gifted athletically, super long and fast and tough. And we feel like the one area where we would like to utilize him a little more is the going forward part. He’s done a lot of coverage and he really is more natural at rushing…. He’s been a part of the best defense in the league the last four years of his career so we are getting a guy that has played at a high level for a really good defense and he brings a lot of attitude. So we are happy about adding him.’’

According to Pro Football Focus, Irvin dropped into coverage on 153 of his 712 snaps last season with the Seahawks.

It was revealed even before the official signing period began on March 9 that Irvin had agreed to a deal with the Raiders, which was somewhat of a surprise given that the conventional wisdom held that he might be headed to Atlanta or Jacksonville, teams where the head coaches are former Seattle defensive coordinators.

But the Raiders also have one of Irvin’s former coaches on staff in defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr., who was Seattle’s linebackers coach from 2012-14, something Irvin cited as another appeal of Oakland.

Jacksonville coach Gus Bradley also said at the league meetings Tuesday that the team didn’t really get into the hunt for Irvin.

“I really like Bruce,’’ said Bradley, who was Seattle’s defensive coordinator in 2012 when Irvin was a rookie before moving to Jacksonville. “I think we showed some interest in him but we didn’t get too heavily involved in him.’’

Bradley said he understood why the Seahawks made the move after the 2012 season to use Irvin more as a strongside linebacker after adding Cliff Avril that off-season as a free agent.

“They got Cliff Avril and it’s a way to be flexible to get your best players on the field at the same time,’’ Bradley said.

Irvin had eight sacks as a rookie in 2012 and 13.5 his remaining three seasons in Seattle after being moved to more of a linebacker role.