Raiders Bring Back Former Top Pick S Karl Joseph

The Las Vegas Raiders have signed unrestricted free agent S Karl Joseph, the club announced Friday.

Joseph, a 5-foot-10, 200-pound safety returns to the Raiders after completing a one-year stint with the Cleveland Browns in 2020.

Just a year ago, Karl Joseph was leaving the Raiders to sign a one-year deal with the Cleveland Browns. Now a free agent again, he was not swiped up among the first waves of signees. Then the Raiders came calling and the former Raiders 14th overall pick jumped at the chance to return where his career began.

“First off I never wanted to leave,” Joseph said over video conference call. “This is my home. I was drafted here. I feel like I was born to be a Raider.”

“So, I got the opportunity, spoke to coach Gruden, and I knew I had to come take a visit and just sit down and talk to him. We spoke for a while yesterday and it felt right. I took some time to think it over and talked to my family about it, and it just felt like the right decision to come back and help finish what I started here.”

Originally the 14th overall selection by the Silver and Black in the 2016 NFL Draft, Joseph now enters his sixth season in the league after appearing in 63 games with 49 starts over his first five seasons, compiling 294 tackles (213 solo), three sacks, five interceptions, 19 passes defensed, one forced fumble and five fumble recoveries.

In three postseason starts, Joseph has recorded nine tackles, one interception, one pass defensed and one fumble recovery.

In his lone season with the Browns, the hard-hitting safety appeared in 14 contests and made eight starts. He posted the second-most tackles of his career (64), while also adding one interception, four passes defensed and a career-high two fumble recoveries.

Joseph appeared in 49 games and made 41 starts over his first four seasons with the Raiders from 2016-19.

In 2018, he finished fifth among all safeties with two sacks, adding 44 stops, one interception and two passes defensed. He started a career-high 15 contests in 2017 and collected a personal-best 81 tackles.

Joseph was the only safety that season to record at least 75 tackles, one interception, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. As a rookie in 2016, Joseph was named to the Pro Football Writers of America’s All-Rookie Team after finishing with 76 tackles, one interception, a career-high six passes defensed and one forced fumble.

A native of Orland, Fla., Joseph played four seasons at West Virginia, starting all 42 appearances. He totaled 284 tackles (209), nine interceptions, 12 passes defensed, two sacks, eight forced fumbles and six fumble recoveries.

Joseph was named a team captain his junior and senior seasons and set a school record with eight career forced fumbles.

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