ALAMEDA, Calif. — Brandon LaFell’s football story begins in the third grade.
He played quarterback, a position at which he remained until his junior year at Houston-Lamar High. A teammate then arrived late to a seven-on-seven passing league tournament. LaFell, a reserve quarterback, moved to receiver in his place.
He wouldn’t play quarterback again.
“We won the tournament,” LaFell said. “I got MVP of the tournament. Oklahoma State, Texas A&M, University of Houston offered me (a scholarship) the same day.”
His football story, LaFell insists, isn’t over.
The Raiders wide receiver is recovering from an Achilles’ tendon tear he suffered Nov. 18, two weeks after his 32nd birthday. LaFell won a college national championship at Louisiana State. He won a Super Bowl with the New England Patriots. His sights are now set on a 2019 return.
“I’m definitely coming back,” LaFell, who underwent surgery in November, said this month. “I’m leaving on my own terms. I’m not leaving like this. I’ll be back. I’ll definitely be back.”
The nine-year NFL veteran hopes to recover in about six months. Once cleared, he can begin working out for teams. His one-year Raiders contract is due to expire March 13.
While unclear if he will return to the club, he clearly proved his worth. LaFell efficiently picked up the offense upon signing with the Raiders on Sept. 3, one week before their season opener.
He worked at all three wide receiver positions, seeing his most significant action at the “Z” spot after wide receiver Amari Cooper’s trade to the Dallas Cowboys in October. The injury, which occurred against the Arizona Cardinals, ended his 2018 chapter.
The rest is to be continued.