The NFL is all about redemption. One week a goat, the next a hero. Or, if you're Alex Barron, years can pass before another opportunity arises. A first-round pick of the Rams in 2005, Barron is mostly known for his inability to play offensive line within the confines of the rules.
During his five-plus NFL seasons as a starter ('05-'10), Barron was known as walking penalty machine. He was out of the league in 2011 while recovering from a knee injury, was signed and released by the Seahawks before last season and inked a deal with the Raiders this March. And now, with starting left tackle Jared Veldheer out indefinitely with a torn triceps, Barron moves to the top of the depth chart.
Look for veteran Alex Barron to take Jared Veldheer's spot at starting left offensive tackle.— Steve Corkran (@CorkOnTheNFL) August 14, 2013
(By the way, we talked about this possibility on the latest Eye on Football Podcast)
Our lasting memory of Barron is from Week 1 of the 2010 season when a holding call negated a Tony Romo touchdown and led to a Redskins win.
(You can watch in horror here. ... Ah, yes, those halcyon days back when Donovan McNabb still seemed like a good fit in Washington and the inflated hopes and dreams of Redskins' fans had yet to be crushed by the McNabb-Grossman-Shanahan(s) train wreck.)
But, hey, that's how redemption works. You have to hit rock bottom before you can, you know, redeem yourself. Barron understands this.
"Once you're away [from the NFL] you kinda just sort of fade away," he said, via SBNation. "That's just kind of how the league is. Nothing I could do about it. Only thing I could do was keep working and keep waiting and that's pretty much all that was."
"I've been impressed with the things Alex Barron has done, and that's been a nice surprise for us," Raiders coach Dennis Allen said a few weeks ago. "I'm really anxious to see what a guy like that does when he gets into the preseason games, and see if what he's been doing out here on the practice field translates into the game."
It looks like we'll all get to find out together.