T.J. Houshmandzadeh is ready to put his previous NFL play far behind him. He started that process Wednesday with his first practice with his new team, the Raiders.
Ravens fans remember Houshmandzadeh’s infamous last play with their team — a dropped pass on fourth-and-18 in a playoff loss to the Steelers a year ago — and it’s enough to make them cringe.
“That was the biggest reason me going to Baltimore last year and, again, when it mattered, I dropped the ball,” he told The Associated Press on Wednesday. “That’s something I really don’t do, so I’m eager to get that behind me also.”
Houshmandzadeh will have that chance, probably soon. He told NFL Network he plans on playing Sunday against the Broncos. And it took him all of one practice to draw a strong conclusion about the Raiders.
“The talent on this team is unbelievable. It’s unbelievable,” Houshmandzadeh said Wednesday on “Around the League” on NFL Network. “So I expect great things.”
Houshmandzadeh never has been afraid of high expectations. But great things didn’t happen two weeks ago when Carson Palmer — Houshmandzadeh’s teammate of six seasons in Cincinnati — made his debut with the Raiders. Palmer got some late work against the Chiefs, with results that also left some cringing.
“It will be different,” Houshmandzadeh said of Palmer’s three-interception debut and Sunday’s game. “You have to understand, he was just sitting at home. You’re working out, but there’s nothing that can prepare you for being out there in a game. I don’t know how much practice time he got that week. He got thrown into the fire. He threw three interceptions, but he got his feet wet. So I’m expecting this week to be a lot better.”
A lot better — for both Palmer and Houshmandzadeh — would be a good start for the Raiders.