ALAMEDA (AP) — One day after not having a backup long snapper nearly proved costly, the Oakland Raiders could be looking for a starter.
Two-time Pro Bowl pick Jon Condo suffered a dislocated right shoulder while recovering a fumble early in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s 15-12 win over the Denver Broncos.
Although Condo returned and finished the game, Oakland coach Jack Del Rio said that tests Monday revealed a potentially season-ending injury. A roster move could be coming later this week.
“It’s not great news coming back,” Del Rio said. “We’ll see how it goes. There’s a strong likelihood that we’ll have to make a move to bring another guy in.”
The 34-year-old Condo has been the Raiders’ long snapper since 2007 and has started 141 consecutive games. He entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent with Dallas in 2005.
Condo injured his shoulder during a game-changing play early in the fourth quarter when he recovered a fumbled punt by Denver’s Emmanuel Sanders. Several players from both teams landed on top of Condo, who hurt his right shoulder despite recovering the ball with his left hand.
“They muffed the ball, fumbled the ball and he was able to come up with it under that pile, and that’s where he suffered that injury,” Del Rio said. “It was a huge moment in the game for us to come out with that turnover.”
Condo was taken to the locker room to have his shoulder popped back into place and wasn’t on the field when the Raiders converted the turnover into a go-ahead touchdown 10 seconds later.
Tight end Lee Smith, who is listed as the team’s backup long snapper, is still recovering from wrist surgery and was unable to play after the Raiders scored a touchdown.
With both snappers out and his team leading by three points, Del Rio opted to go for a 2-point conversion that failed.
Condo returned to the game on Oakland’s next series and finished the game without incident. The Raiders were encouraged and hopeful that Condo would be fine with rest, but those hopes were dimmed when tests revealed a potentially more serious injury.
“He had tests today,” Del Rio said. “We’ll see what we need to do going forward.”
Asked if Condo’s injury could be season-ending, Del Rio was not optimistic.
“Could be,” the Raiders coach said.
With Smith still wearing a cast on his right wrist and unable to snap, Oakland will likely have to make a roster move to bring in a free agent if the decision is made to shut Condo down for any length of time.
Few, if any, teams in the NFL carry a legitimate backup center on the 53-man roster. In most instances, the job is handled by backup tight ends or linebackers who spend little time practicing the job.
The Raiders went through such an experience in 2012 when Condo suffered a concussion during the season opener.
Seldom-used linebacker Travis Goethel — who had not done much long snapping in practice and none in games — was called on to replace Condo and struggled. Of his four snaps to then-Oakland punter Shane Lechler, three resulted in blocks.
“Nobody has another guy like that,” Del Rio said. “We have a guy. It just happens to be that our guy had surgery on his wrist a couple weeks ago so he’s still wearing a cast. That’s just the way it worked out for us. It’ll be addressed going forward.”
Note: RT Austin Howard, who was limited to 20 plays after injuring his knee on the first possession of the third quarter, is day to day.