John Madsen....

Angry Pope

All Raider
Feb 2, 2006
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One of our UDFAs has some thoughts....

Ex-Ute Madsen happy to score with Raiders

He's eager to earn spot on roster after season-ending injury in '05

By Tim Peterson
Deseret Morning News

Former Utah receiver John Madsen is getting a second chance to play football, this time with the Oakland Raiders.

August Miller, Deseret Morning NewsUtah's John Madsen scores a touchdown as Wyoming's Derrick Martin moves in too late. Utah defeated Wyoming 43-13 at Rice-Eccles Stadium Nov. 5, 2005. A week later Madsen was injured.

The ex-Ute is hoping to make the Raiders' 53-man roster. The one-time walk-on from Hunter High was having his best season for the Utes until he broke his fibula (leg) and was forced to miss the final three games of 2005. The senior had 55 catches for 672 yards and six touchdowns in nine starts, almost doubling his yardage from 2004. The injury ended his season and his opportunity to further showcase his talents to pro scouts.

"I was disappointed," he said. "A lot of teams wanted to sign me, but I couldn't do anything," he said.

He also missed out on the pro combine in March because his leg wasn't healed. The former Hunter basketball player has some intangibles that make him a legitimate candidate for the NFL.

Utes offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig says that Madsen has potential because of his 6-foot-5 frame and good hands.

"He's got a unique combination of size and ability," Ludwig says. "John can come down with the ball when it's being contested, and that's what makes him good."

Despite the injury, several teams wanted the Ute to compete for a roster spot, including Andy Reid and the Philadelphia Eagles.

About 15 minutes after the final round of last month's NFL draft, Madsen got a call from his agent telling him that the Oakland Raiders intended to sign him as an unrestricted rookie free-agent. The opportunity is all he wanted.

"I was just really excited," said the West Valley native. "I just have to go there and prove to the organization that I can play," he said.

Along with the opportunity to play pro ball, Madsen might find himself doing a little stargazing. The mandatory mini-camp means veterans like Randy Moss and Warren Sapp will be in camp.

Brian Nicholson, Deseret Morning NewsFormer Utah receiver John Madsen is an unrestricted rookie free agent with Oakland. "I've idolized them since high school," he said.

Third-round pick, offensive lineman Paul McQuistan of Weber State, also made an impression with the players. He's been given the nickname "The Mullet" for his retro hairstyle.

The rookie was very impressive in his debut. Madsen and McQuistan could be diamonds in the rough for Oakland. Madsen is physically very similar to former Penn State receiver Joe Jurevicius. Both players are similar in height and weight.

Time will tell if Madsen can be as steady and reliable a receiver as Jurevicius. Madsen said he feels he can be that type of player if he gets the right opportunity.

The next mini-camp will be in mid-June, and training camp starts in late July.
Ex-Utes take different routes
Smith now 49ers' QB while TE Madsen battles for job with Raiders

By Jerry McDonald

John Madsen remembers when Alex Smith was merely one of three Utah quarterbacks hoping to become the starter.

Smith recalls Madsen, still a relative beginner to the sport of football, running routes with the Utes for the first time and impressing everyone with his size and athletic skill.

They remain friends, the quarterback and the receiver, although their checking accounts and level of job security have nothing in common.

Smith, San Francisco 49ers quarterback, is wealthy beyond his wildest dreams, set for life by virtue of being the top pick in the 2005 NFL draft.

Madsen, a tight end for the Oakland Raiders, is hanging on to each pass as he would a ledge on the Transamerica Pyramid, hoping to catch on as an undrafted rookie.

They meet Sunday night when the Raiders host the 49ers in a preseason game at McAfeefrom Sports 1 Coliseum.

Smith was glued to the tube when the Raiders beat the Minnesota Vikings 16-13. Madsen watched closely as the 49ers beat the Chicago Bears 28-14 in Smith's coming-out party as an NFL quarterback.

"I'm sitting there watching the whole second half because I want to see John, see how he's playing and see him have some catches," Smith said. "That's very different from me. I'm starting, and I'm playing against the ones. And he's going in and trying to fight for a spot. There's a different perspective."

"I saw how well Alex did," Madsen said, "and I wasn't surprised."

When Madsen arrived in Salt Lake City, a transfer from nearby Snow Junior College, he had very little football experience and no athletic scholarship. The all-conference basketball and baseball player at Hunter High School in Utah was talked into playing at Snow by some friends.

Utah coach Urban Meyer saw a 6-foot-5, 220-pound athlete whom he believed would be an excellent receiver in his spread option offense.

"Physically, he's just a freak," Smith said. "He was raw, but you could see his potential and how he got better every day. Two years later, we'd do one-on-ones, and he'd just be throwing defensive backs, overpowering them. He absolutely came out of nowhere."

While Madsen was learning the game, Smith was in a three-way battle with Lance Rice and Brett Elliott to become the Utah starter. Smith got the job for good when Elliott suffered a broken wrist in 2003.

Both players blossomed in their junior year. Madsen caught 27 passes for 377 yards and five touchdowns. Smith passed the Utes to a 12-0 record, threw 32 touchdown passes with four interceptions and made a stunning charge up draft lists, which led him to leave school with a year of eligibility remaining.

"Before the season started, no one was even thinking about Alex leaving early," Madsen said. "Then, as the games went on, we started getting ranked higher and higher, and there were questions about whether he'd return.

"Toward the end of the season we'd say, 'Alex, what are they thinking?' and it was maybe the third or fourth round. Then all of a sudden he was up to being the top pick in the draft. It all happened so fast."

Madsen enjoyed an excellent senior year at the same time Smith was learning the hard way as a 49ers rookie. He had 55 receptions for 672 yards and six touchdowns before suffering a broken ankle and missing the last three games.

He wasn't drafted, and the Raiders, who have a long tradition of moving skilled athletes to tight end, signed Madsen and told him to start eating.

In Utah's spread option system, which used no tight end, Madsen became a proficient route-runner and has a good knowledge of the passing game, but he did no interior blocking.

Coach Art Shell concedes Madsen, now 235 pounds, has a ways to go in that regard, although the coach compliments the rookie on his willingness to mix it up against defensive ends and linebackers.

Madsen was scoring touchdowns on an almost daily basis early in camp before suffering an oblique strain that caused him to miss the preseason opener. He has returned to action with no limitations and had one catch for 6 yards against Minnesota.

His receiving skills and overall ability are intriguing enough that Madsen merits a shot at making the team or sticking on the practice squad. Smith, having seen Madsen on the basketball court, believes he is gifted enough to do almost anything.

"In the spring, we'd have 4-on-4 hoop tourneys, and at the end there would be a slam-dunk contest," Smith said. "Here's this guy from Utah up there doing these 360-degree windmills, throwing them down, putting on a show. To see him do that was amazing."

Madsen said Smith, despite his newfound celebrity status and a six-year contract that could pay him nearly $50 million, seems like the same guy he knew in college.

"He obviously doesn't have a lot of time, and you've got to keep certain friends closer as you lose contact with others," Madsen said. "But Alex has a cool head, and he's always been a really humble person."

Smith believes he can tell in an instant the difference between a friend and a potential problem.

"Sometimes there are people who you weren't real good friends with, then all of a sudden it's like, 'How come you're treating me differently?'" Smith said. "With John, I'm close enough friends with him that nothing really changes."

Staff writer Roger Phillips contributed to this story.
Raiders Notebook

Porter not making many friends

Posted Aug 22, 2006

An undrafted free agent making a bid for a roster spot. Renewed confidence in their kicker. No place for selfish players on the Oakland roster. A veteran being displaced? A precaution is taken. All this and more...

Undrafted free agent tight end John Madsen, a converted wide receiver, is impressing the Raiders with his overall athletic skill. That comes as no surprise to 49ers quarterback Alex Smith, who played with Madsen at Utah and remembers watching him at 4-on-4 basketball tournaments.
"At the end there would be a slam-dunk contest," Smith said. "Here's this guy from Utah up there doing these 360 degree windmills, throwing them down, putting on a show. To see him do that was amazing."

Sebastian Janikowski, having gone from 265 pounds to 249, hit his first six kicks of the pre-season, including dead-center efforts from 55, 51 and 50 yards.

There was talk after last season, when Janikowski missed a third of his 30 field goal attempts and missed eight of 15 from 40 yards and beyond, that he could be looking for a new team.

Instead, Shell did the opposite.

"I told him when I first met him, `I'm going to count on you,' " Shell said. "I expect you to be a Pro Bowl kicker this year. You have the talent to do that, and I expect that will happen." Janikowski maintains he struck the ball well for the most part last season, but simply had little or no luck.

"I thought I hit the ball good, it just didn't happen," Janikowski said. "It's like a golf swing -- you hit the ball good but it goes left and right."

Speaking of golf, Raiders punter Shane Lechler thinks Janikowski's hot start could lead to something big.

"He plays golf the same way," Lechler said. "If he birdies one, look out. It's going to be a long day."

Jerry Porter remained on the roster and was making the occasional practice, although he has stopped talking to the media since making his trade demands public at the beginning of training camp.
Safety Jarrod Cooper, when asked if Porter's problems were a business issue as opposed to a team issue, minced no words regarding the unhappy wide receiver.

"I've been in this league six years. I've been the third safety, the second safety, the first safety," Cooper said. "If you have someone who is upset because he's running at three, but he's still contributing to the team, you really don't want that person. You want someone who's contribute any way they're asked, no matter where it's at. That's what you want. If they're not like that, they can get out of here. It's about winning as a team, it's not what you're doing."

Since defensive end Bobby Hamilton has started 29 games and been a locker room leader for the past two seasons, it's hard to tell whether the Raiders are phasing him out or merely getting a look at others because they already know what he can do.

The Raiders gave Hamilton's position to Tyler Brayton when Art Shell was hired as head coach, and there has been no indication that Hamilton has any chance of winning the job back.

Hamilton is a stand-up, base end who comes off the field on passing downs. His play during training camp and the pre-season has largely been with the second and third teams, although he has seen time on the first team short-yardage unit.

If the Raiders make a decided effort to go young, Hamilton could be unemployed on the final day of cuts.

Left guard Barry Sims missed the Raiders game against the 49ers with an inflamed elbow. Sims didn't believe the injury was serious, and the reason he was held out is because the Raiders don't appear to have much depth up front. Corey Hulsey took his place as a starter.
Ouch, that's gonig to leave a mark (Jarrod Cooper on Jerry Porter). It's about time someone 'smacked' JP.

I'd hate to lose Bobby Hamilton in order to retain Tyler Brayton. I know, I know, Hamilton is "old", but Brayton isn't a player at this level.

Two other veterans that could very well be on the way out are Zach Crockett and Danny Clark.

I wonder if John Madsen is the "Shannon Sharpe" WR/TE tweener that Al Davis has coveted for years?
Save Danny clark...I still like the guy. However, I'm lovin' our young linebackers. We got spped. All we need now is durability.
For me, if we were going to lose one of Zack or Danny, I would prefer keeping Crockett.
Disagree, I'd retain Clark (even though Zach is one of my favorite Raiders) simply because Clark can play SAM & MLB if needed while Crockett is more easily replaced by the guys currently on the roster (Hall, Foschi and Fargas) IMO.

Still, I'd like to see them both remain on the roster.
Fargas is indecisive at times and Foschi and Hall haven't carried the ball much...all we know is that they can block. Crockett has good hands for what we want to do on offense. I haven't seen too much from the others in that regard yet. Crockett runs harder than Reshard Lee. If Jordan goes down, I would feel much better with Crockett used at that position.

For me, if we need the money, I would think about using Clark in trade. We have Riddle, Thomas, Bing and Irons all playing linebacker.
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